Posted by Jim Garrett
The meeting began with an invocation delivered by Cindi Galabota, which she described as a “prayer/poem.”   The piece called upon listeners, in artful language, to recall the many affirmative characteristics of life, and encouraged grateful observance.
Jessie Formwalt then took the microphone to lead the group in singing a chorus or two of the old favorite, “Home on the Range.”
Meeting visitors of note included our newly arrived exchange students, Cata Acuilera, from Chile, and Theodor Bonlokke, from Denmark.  Not sure, but I think they like the food served up at Pagosa Brewing.   
Also present was Ashley Wilson of victim advocacy group Rise Above Violence, who invited all to attend the annual fund-raiser, Art Above Violence, in which local artists practicing in forms ranging from painting, sculpture and music to dance, tell the stories of victims through their chosen medium.  The event is this Saturday, September 29, beginning 6 pm at the Pagosa Springs Art Center with an auction of art works, followed by a show of performance art at 7:30.
Jann Pitcher then announced the annual Put Hill cleanup on September 29, and solicited volunteers.
Sandra Houston, Nick Tallent and Larry McClintock next reported on attendance at the recent Rotary Leadership Institute, which was held in nearby Bayfield.  Sandra described the event as “very impressive,” saying it really hit home what we’re here for.  She noted the emphasis in Rotary participation on three qualities: service, creativity/engagement, and “fun!”  Leadership is not a formula, she suggested, and different personal styles can succeed in engaging others.
The date for the Barn Dance this year will be October 20, Jeannie Bissell announced.  Tickets were distributed, and a sigh-up sheet for volunteers was circulated.  “It’s going to be fun!” Jeannie exclaimed, and announced beer would be only 25 cents a bottle!  (Just kidding.  But suppose . . . )
Georgette Baumgartner touted the sale of sponsorships, a substantial source of revenue from the Dance.   She solicited leads to good prospects, and pointed out that sponsors receive complimentary tickets.  Jeannie suggested that sponsors be encouraged to use the tickets, noting they were sure to enjoy the 25 cent beers  (no, no, no; your reporter is running amuck in flights of fancy!)
President Shellie Peterson encouraged Rotarians to attend the District Conference at Cripple Creek, at a Casino (there you have it, fun! Just like Sandra said.).  The Conference will be October 4 – 6.   And Shellie also pointed out that our club is looking for new Board members, and suggested interested persons should contact the Nominating Committee.
Betty Switzer then took the floor for the much anticipated announcement of this month’s birthdays.  Our two joyous celebrants were Lisa Scott and Janelle Syverson, who basked in the warm glow of a Happy Birthday serenade.  Then wedding anniversaries were announced: Bob Eggleston (5 years), Jann Pitcher (48) and Jessie Formwalt (54 years and counting).  Jann’s 31st anniversary as a member of Rotary was also noted, with the observation that she had been the local first woman to join.  (And now look, quoth Betty!).  Also observing Rotary anniversaries were Terri House, Lassie Olin, Bob Eggleston, Jo Ann Laird, and David Smith.
Betty followed the celebration of anniversaries with an announcement there would not be time this week for Sunshine and Showers, but relented in the face of widespread protest.  Among the items then shared were Sharon Cope’s disclosure of a recent ordeal with a breast cancer diagnosis, leading to surgeries, but recently also to bright sunshine in the form of a clear scan of lymph nodes. 
Bill Darling also spoke of suffering recent health problems, but told of a silver lining in the gloom of hospitalization: while in a Denver hospital, he and wife Margaret had a visitor who stayed a week, a one-time exchange student from Venezuela, Ate, whom they had hosted years before.  “What goes around, comes around,” Bill commented. 
And continuing a theme, Dave Richardson gave a health update on Barry Wheeless, whose difficulties continue with a case of double-pneumonia that has landed him in intensive care.  Barry would greatly appreciate sunny greetings from Pagosans, Dave suggested.
Shellie (denying the suggestion that she was “having a cow” over the delay), then reasserted order and called upon our speakers.