Posted by Jim Garrett
Georgette Baumgardner stepped up to the plate for an invocation calling for the better parts of human nature to prevail.  Regrettably, your reporter’s pen moved too slowly to record more than the line, “Let my eyes be opened.”  Still, that was enough to demonstrate that thoughts valuable to all were expressed, both figuratively for a good life, and literally for many activities commonly pursued. 
(Keeping the eyes open is especially worthwhile for hitting a baseball, which comes to mind as the calendar turns to February and the Colorado Rockies head off soon to spring training; your reporter can attest from personal experience that an eyes-closed approach to hitting has severe weaknesses.)
Gasp: we enjoyed no song???  Jessie Formwalt was absent, and apparently her recent renderings have been so impressive no one felt equal to the task of succeeding her.  Take heart, all!  It’s a George Bushian audience (kind and gentle).
Visitors included Sam Conti, of Pagosa Mountain Rotary (where she presides as president).  Also present was Rotarian Frank Wylie of Sunlight, Arizona.  Frank identified himself as a student of geography, and illustrated with an observation on an oddity of the map: the Canary Islands, he said, have no canaries.  And, he added, the Virgin Islands are similar!  (That is, he clarified, they also have no canaries.)    
Then President Shellie Peterson announced the time had come to bestow a Paul Harris Fellowship Award on our newest member-honoree.  But first, she called on Art Benzel, who reported that Rotary founder Paul Harris had passed 72 years ago.  He added that Harris’ motto was, “A man with a 1000 friends has not one he can afford to lose.”  Art advised that on Harris’ death in 1947, in response to his request for donations to the Rotary Foundation in lieu of flowers, $2 million was raised, an impressive sum especially in those days.
Shellie then called Jonnae Benzel forward to receive her pin and citation for support of the Foundation, and welcomed her into the fold, encompassing currently a large part of the Club’s membership.
Next on the agenda, a new Rotary fundraising project was announced, the Hatcher Lake Ice-Melt contest, being conducted locally in cooperation with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA), and modeled on a similar event held by Summit County Rotary.
Allen Roth (who moonlights as PLPOA Manager) explained: PLPOA will haul a 55-gallon drum onto the currently icy surface of Hatcher Lake, fitted with a clock and a triggering mechanism.  As the weather warms, the ice will eventually melt, the drum will fall into the water, and the triggering mechanism will cause the clock to register the exact moment of hitting the water, down to the second.  The clock is calibrated to within .00001 second accuracy based on Greenwich Mean Time by the Swiss Chronological and Measuring Society (SCAMS).  Well, something like that, anyhow.
Allen explained the contest involves trying to predict (in an entry that must be received by March 20) the exact moment of the drum’s watery plunge.  The rewards for entries displaying accurate foresight are tangible (as in other contexts): first place prize $1000, second $500 and third $250.    (A voice in the audience, apparently belonging to someone who fears the thumb on the scale or the blowtorch on the ice, called out, “Who’s watching?”  We’ll drive by, quoth Allen, betraying impressive trust in the integrity of his community’s residents.)
Proceeds will support the Rotary Scholarship fund.  Entries are approximately 9 cents per gallon of drum, otherwise stated as $5 per guess (or if you pretend to rely on scientific insight, per forecast).  But discount rates are available: $20 for five guesses, or $100 for thirty (of course, that means $100 will cover half a minute of Pagosa Springtime, which is 30 seconds out of weeks in which the payoff could potentially occur – but forget that, the idea is to have fun and support a good cause!).  Entries may be submitted on the Rotary and/or PLPOA websites. 
A similar contest has been staged by Summit County Rotary for over 30 years, and its a big fund-raiser in that community, so there is much optimism for equal success here.
Kim Moore followed up Allen’s presentation on the Ice-Melt Contest with the announcement of a new approach to Rotary event sponsorships for this year: a single solicitation of sponsors for all four or five of the events Kim said would be hosted by Rotary as fund-raisers throughout the year.  Those who sign up by the end of the sponsorship campaign on March 15, will receive   public recognition in connection with all of the events, as well as continuing notice throughout the year on Rotary’s website. 
Kim added that one of the fund-raising events this year will be Casino Night, a revival of a popular attraction hosted by Rotary in years past, to be held, she said, on Friday night May 10, 2019 at the PLPOA clubhouse. 
Kim also distributed forms for use by members to recruit sponsors.  Included in the required information, she emphasized, is the sponsor’s mailing address as well as business location.  Those in need of forms for recruiting sponsors should contact her.
Changing topics, Shellie announced that the 9 Heath Fair is scheduled to be held this year on April 27 (the kick-off luncheon was Friday, the day following the Rotary meeting).  The Fair provides a variety of common health care services to community residents, and is usually held at Pagosa Springs High School.  Shellie reminded that Rotary is committed to provide administrative services for the Fair again this year.
Jo Bridges took the floor to solicit Feed Our Children volunteers for the period running through the end of March.  In addition, she invited all members to let her know of situations where someone connected to the Rotary family may be in need of cheering up with a greeting card, due perhaps to health issues or other misfortunes.   With members’ help in learning of such circumstances, Jo explained, she will obtain an appropriate sympathy card and circulate it for signatures at the next meeting.
Sunshine and Showers followed, but once again attracted but a few contributors.  First, Georgette bemoaned the loss of her Rotary Badge.  (SSMC Betty Switzer attempted briefly to beef up the scholarship fund by informing Georgette the loss triggers a $20 assessment, but her ploy was soon abandoned.)  Kim followed by offering appreciation for the recent Bulletin write-up on her Tibet journey.
Then Codie Wilson inquired about a poster featuring garishly garbed individuals looking vaguely familiar, which Kim explained was a long-ago Casino Night poster, unearthed on a recent visit to the Rotary storage locker.  The only current members pictured on the poster, she added, were herself and Dave Richardson.  Of course, she said, even though it was long ago, Dave was recognizable as the one without any hair. 
Finally, Sandra Houston reported that the Read Aloud program had received a copious supply of books, and would soon be put in motion.  The program, she added, is intended to provide a “reader” for any community member of any age group who would appreciate it.  Sandra is looking for volunteers, and explained that training will be provided.  (Hmm . . . remedial reading?)
Exchange student Theo Bonlokke reported he had fun skiing with Larrry McClintock, whom he described as a good skier (don’t let it go to your head, Larry; remember, Denmark is flat).  Theo added he had attended the X-Games in Aspen, been cross-country skiing with Dave and Mary Helen Cammack, celebrated his birthday, and (when does Theo have time to breathe?) was looking forward to more wrestling team dual matches and tournaments.
Cata Acuilera, our Chilean exchange student, noted the impending end of the Pagosa Lady Pirates swim season, and then elaborated a little more than the peripatetic Theo on the X-Games (plus a concert) in Aspen, which she, too, had enjoyed attending.  Cata described Half-Pipe as her favorite event at the Games, recalling watching from a vantage point next to the lip of the venue, with competitors swooping toward her up the embankment, carrying high above her position, and doing acrobatic tricks in the air before descending in a headlong rush to the opposite bank.  “Really cool,” she pronounced.