President Elect Mark Patton replaced Club President Casey Cook in his absence.  PE Mark opened the meeting promptly at 7 am. He read …..

Sergeant-at-Arms Report

Guests and Visiting Rotarians: Herb Wilson, Iowa City Noon; Nik Peterson, guest of Carl Christensen; Ian Nessler and Katie Langenfeld, speakers.


Peggy reminded members that the Year Ender will be on June 28th, at John Ockenfel’s hangar.  The meeting will be a pot-luck, with tickets being sold at $25.00. Peggy will prepare a list to jot down what Rotarians will take. John mentioned attendees should wear comfortable clothes, given the place and the weather, and that there will be an air show going on at the Municipal airport at the same time as the potluck.

Myrene quoted a report about the spread of Polio from the three countries where it is still endemic, to other countries. Namely,from Pakistan to Afghanistan, from Syria to Iraq, and from Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea.  It is mentioned that “There is increased evidence that adults contributed to this spread.” The World Health Organizations (WHO) referred to this as an emergency. Its report reads that “… all children should be inoculated or reinoculated and all travelers from these countries should be reinoculated and should carry an internationally accepted proof … of that inoculation.”

Happy Bucks

There were many happy Rotarians.  Among others: Deb PVA, whose nephew became a cheer leader in his college; Visiting Rotarian Herb mentioned that he joined Rotary in 1963, and was one of the Rotarians who helped organize our Rotary Club of Iowa City AM 25 years ago; Liz Nichols commented on the incoming Exchange Student that the club will be hosting. Everything is ready.  Our INBOUND YE student, Tim, said he also attended the District Conference in Ames this past week end.  It was “a happy yet tearful meeting”: the D6000 INBOUND exchange students got together with the OUTBOUND ones.  The sad part: it was the last time they would see each other, since they are returning to their home countries or going to their host countries.  Brian …: his daughter turned 21. Vernette reminded everybody that Rotarians have until the end of next week to register for the 2015 District Conference at the discounted price of $125.  Jim Petersen mentioned that he, too, enjoyed the District Conference in Ames. He said there were unusually thoughtful speakers like Brad Howard, who became his district’s DG at age 42.  John Ockenfels said he learned at the Conference that 2015 will be the 100th District Conference for D6000.  Deb Ockenfels mentioned that whenever she commented of the plan to have Home Hospitality for the 2015 D. Conference, Rotarians were very happy about it.  Mark read the list of the next three weeks’ May programs.  The Club Treasurer mentioned that starting next Rotary year, members will be charged $165 per quarter.  Pat Schnack said that next week, she will have ready the list of books we talked about at each table last Tuesday.


Continental Crossings (CC) was presented by Katie Lagenfeld and Ian Nessler, both sophomores at the UI Engineering school. CC is the local chapter of Bridges for Prosperity. They explained the importance of having pedestrian bridges (in case of illness, to sell products, for children to attend school, etc.). CC has built 5 bridges so far, in 3 countries. In Peru (2000), in Zambia (2010), and in Nicaragua (2011, 2012 and 2013). The last bridge they built was to cross a canyon that took locals a long time to go down the side of the canyon, cross the river, and climb up on the other side.  It was also dangerous, because people could fall to their death, or die from crocodile attacks.  For the last bridge the only material for it that was not local was the cables that were used.  There are 5 stages in the building of the bridges.  1. A site needs to be found. The mother organization did that to begin with.  Now, the students locate places, sites that need bridges.  They have 4 or 5 sites right now. Its feasibility needs to be checked.  Does the community want it? Are they willing to build it and to maintain it?  If the conditions are given, they sign an agreement with the community, with the local authorities. 2.  The students come back to make the design and to work out the logistics --which makes it easier to work once on location-- and build a team. There are workshops for the team to adapt to: the area, the culture and the climate.  3.  They need to have fundraisings to cover costs.  For the last bridge, they received a Matching Grant from The Rotary Foundation. CC had to get $16,000 and the Matching Grant was for $13,000. 4. Make the design. 5.  Build the bridge.


--How did the students originally hear about the project?  They received mass mailings from the President of the organization.  Jim mentioned that 2 Rotarians founded it in the 1990’s.  –Any language problems?  Yes, the students do not know Spanish, and the locals, no English. The Mason who has worked with them in Nicaragua the last three times speaks English.  –Other problems?  Snakes, scorpions, rain for more than a week, and others.  –About the cables, how did they do to get from one coast to the other?  They had to let the cable down to the river level, somebody had to climb down, and wade the river with it.  The opposite had to be done on the other side.  –How did they pull it tight? With a machine.  There were 7 clumps (??????). --Which wood did they use for the beams? Local wood, treated naturally for bug deterrent.  –Are the locals anxious to learn how to build bridges?  YES.  –If the cable breaks in the middle of the bridge, the whole cable needs to be replaced. When the cable was ready, they had to walk on the cable to manually put beams.  Kate and Ian were asked how locals feel about the bridges. Since the team to build the bridge is made up of locals who are committed to it, the locals know they own the bridge.  During the building, the locals are train locals to do repairs and build other bridges, for the project to be sustainable. The comment made by Kara:  “it was cool and scary.”

President Elect Mark Patton mentioned to the speakers that the Rotary Club of Iowa City AM will donate a book to an elementary school in their names.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00a.m.

P.S.:  As we know, Rotarian Susan Murty, will be relocating to North Carolina, where her sister lives.  She shared her address with us, which is:  804 North Fork Rd, Black Mountain, N.C. 28711.  E-mail: Susan will be missed.

Respectfully submitted by Nenu Piragine