Posted by Jim Garrett
Carol (Ci Ci) Stuart kicked the proceedings off with the invocation: “As we Rotary members and guests gather here today, we pray we are ever mindful of opportunities to give service to our fellow citizens and community.  Always keeping in mind the enduring values of life, we exert our efforts in those areas upon which our future generations can build with confidence.  Let us continue to strive to make this a better and more harmonious world.”
Sharon Crump then daringly defied the elements by leading us in a merry rendition of the old classic “Let it Snow.”  (I enthusiastically joined in, belting out the chorus; we do all revel in our beautiful winters.  But there are limits: I didn’t see very much defiance of the elements as traffic was crawling over Wolf Creek Pass at 20 mph in the swirling, mid-morning snow Wednesday; there was instead an abundance of white-knuckled respect on display, and no doubt many sighs of relief were heaved as snow-free South Fork came into view.  The snow was heavy all the way from Treasure Falls to well past the summit.  On the drive to Salida that day, only Wolf Creek had real snow.  So there you have it – the “most snow” boasts substantiated!)
Announcements ensued.  To begin, Lisa Scott provided some information to supplement the presentation she and school board member Brooks Lindner had made at a Rotary meeting a few weeks back regarding the proposal for a mill levy override to benefit Archuleta School District to be decided by voters this fall: First, Lisa clarified that the measure will generate a consistent $1.7 million new revenue for the schools each year of its seven-year life, rather than vary with property appreciation.  Second, she clarified that the revenue would be used in part for teacher and staff salaries, but would not result in salary increases for District senior management including Superintendent Linda Reed.
Madame President Shellie Peterson then reminded all to bring in donations of Halloween candy being collected by Rotary to help the families of the Pagosa Springs Mesa Heights neighborhood cope with the annual influx of an eager hoarde of “trick or treaters” it experiences.
Shellie then turned to World Polio Day, coming on Wednesday October 24, when Rotary will again be manning a pot at City Market to collect donations from members of the public.  She reminded us that the goal of Polio Day is eradication of the scourge of the disease world-wide, and donations collected by Rotary Clubs will be matched by the Gates Foundation, 2 to 1, with a total goal of raising $450 million over three years.
In addition, Shellie reported on the recent District Conference, and with the help of Livia Lynch indulged in Club bragging rights earned by prizes awarded to us at the Conference.
First, Shellie reported that we had been recognized with a Presidential Citation, bestowed annually on only ten clubs in the District, based on criteria such as level of community activities and membership growth.  She noted that our 6000 plus hours of community service (valued at a modest $25/hr.) and cash donations to community causes were worth over $200,000 during the last year.
Shellie then asked Livia to describe the really big award received by the Club, the DD Monroe prize, for which we received a handsome banner to display for one year.  The Monroe award is given to one club a year, based on the quality of its community activities.  Livia provided a rundown of many strong services our club provides to the community, like the backpack program, Loaves and Fishes, and the exchange program, which with others earned the award.  Generally, Livia proclaimed, the Monroe award simply is recognition “this is an amazing club.”
Exchange students Theodor Bonlokke and Kata Acuilera also reported on activities they attended at the District Conference with their peers from communities throughout the District.  Theodor took the lead in describing the group’s activities during the weekend, including a scavenger hunt in the Cripple Creek community, and a visit to a near-by gold mine.  When Kata had her turn, she reported that Theodor had covered everything, except their enjoyment of the pizza.
Information concerning the October 20 Jewels and Jeans Barn Dance then became the focus of attention.  Betty Switzer repeated an earlier appeal for set-up and clean-up volunteers.  John Richardson reported that tickets were moving, but were still readily available for additional celebrants to don their finest and fanciest and join the festivities.  Treasurer Larry McClintock called for Rotarians to beat the bushes for sponsors, who in addition to the satisfaction of supporting their community will receive recognition at the Dance and year-long publicity.  And Jo Bridges reported there will a selection of choice items for the silent auction.  (A source who has requested anonymity because he, she or it was not authorized to speak publicly, has informed your reporter that one will be an Alley House gift certificate.)
Betty then took plastic pumpkin in hand, and reported on the just-instituted, pin-lacking members $1 fine program, which she said had yielded proceeds of $9.25 (Betty – you let someone off for a quarter????), and a harvest of lame excuses (the dog ate it, and it’s in my other car, an adult variant of the old homework alibi, “I forgot it at home”).
At this point, Lassie Olin and Kriss Campbell began crying “Help, Help,” over spilled water (no doubt it would have been milk had there been any).  It’s not clear to this reporter whether the glass knocked over at their table was a clever diversionary maneuver to avoid further details from Betty on the lame excuses (Betty had just outed Meg Wempe on the bit about the car), an expression of sympathy for the poor victims of Hurricane Michael, or simply an accident.  But it is clear that Betty’s report was abruptly terminated by the commotion.  Perhaps a team of crack investigators should be assembled.  But don’t ask Saudi Arabia for guidance: that likely would produce a team of crack obfuscators. (“Oh absolutely not, he left, for sure.  And we’re going to investigate, you bet.”)