Posted by Jim Garrett
Art Benzel began with an invocation consisting of excerpts from a poem by George Carlin (yes, the often vulgar comedian, but a thoughtful observer of life too), “The Paradox.” Lines recorded by your scribbling reporter included observations that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, more convenience but less time, more medicine but less wellness, stay up too late and wake up too tired, love too seldom and hate too often, and have been to the moon and back but have trouble walking across the street to greet our neighbor.
Sharon Crump then led the group in singing Grand Old Flag.  Sharon’s leadership of the uplifting favorite was more melodious than a previous effort perhaps still ringing in the ears of some.
Guests included Constance D’Angelis, 9 Health Care coordinator, and James Smith, president of Citizen’s Bank, a multiple-time return guest.
Announcements included requests for volunteer sign-ups by Jo Bridges on behalf of the Feed our Children backpack program (sign-up “early and often,” Jo implored), and President Kim Moore for the Kentucky Derby party, being held again at Keyah Grande.  “Many hands make light work,” Kim suggested, encouraging all to volunteer for one of the many jobs hosting the event demands.
Dave Campbell then presided over the induction of a new member, Meg Wempe, an event which he said was the result of “a couple of years of arm-twisting.”  Meg is the director of the community’s highly esteemed Ruby Sisson Library. 
(According to information on the internet, the Library dates to a donation of books from the estate of a wealthy New Yorker in 1896.  Ruby Sisson was a local teacher, rancher and philanthropist, who lived from 1901-1985.  Community members raised the funds to build the current library building in 1989.  The building, located at South 8th Street and Highway 160, was later remodeled and expanded in 2005.)
Meg shared a little of her background with us.  She grew up in South Carolina and is a graduate of Clemson University.  After college she bounced around a bit, including a period in residence at what she described as a “hippy farm” in Virginia, until she earned a Masters in Library Science at Arizona.  Eventually she wound up in Pagosa Springs, fell in love with the community, and skiing, plus, got married.  She does triathlons, and recently participated in the Penguin Plunge.  Meg is a welcome addition to Rotary!
Another Penguin Plunger, Nick Tallent, reported that he survived the event the previous weekend, despite being nearly drowned by the weight of his bulky Penguin costume which he wore into the San Juan.  Nick said he raised $600 for Big Brothers/Sisters, and the Plunge and other Winterfest events raised a total of $11,000 for various causes.
Exchange student Laura Delgado reported she had raised $1600 for her Hawaii trip, but much of the needed sum “is still missing for me.”  Her current fund-raising effort is Valentines’ Day candy.  Laura reported that she had recently attended the X-Games, staged this year in Aspen.  The trip was much fun, she added, except for the $7 hot chocolate in an Aspen bistro.  (Beware, all ye who enter here, the land of million-dollar “affordable” homes – no joke!)
Sunshine and Showers under Betty Switzer’s leadership produced several offerings of interest, including Lassie Olin’s report that People Magazine had listed Pagosa Springs as one of 10 places in the world to visit (the only US location so honored),
Kim’s comment that it was husband Walt’s birthday and a celebratory visit to Ouray was anticipated, Donna Wynn’s report that her daughter would be opening a restaurant, Carol’s Kitchen, back home in Norman, Ok. on February 17, and your reporter’s disclosure of another step on the Pagosa odyssey started by chance in 2004, his admission to the practice of law in Colorado.