Bob Gifford
Nov 22, 2017
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Nov 29, 2017
becky tomsheck
Dec 06, 2017
Junior Achievment
Dec 13, 2017
Exchange Student
Dec 13, 2017
Exchange Student
Phil Freeman Lakeshore Schools Superintendent
Dec 20, 2017
Reading Now Network
Upcoming Events
 Club #27802 in District 6360
We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Drive
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
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Write to us at:
Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary
PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor. MI 49023-1552
Meeting Presentations and Stories
State representative Kim LaSata made her first visit to Sunrise Rotary. She attended Lake Michigan Catholic High School and returned many years to teach fifth grade.  Ten years later she made her first run for elected office.  Now she is chair of the higher education committee with responsibility for 15 campuses.  She also serves on the agriculture and health committees.  Her first legislation addressed homeowners falsely claiming homestead exemptions, assessing back taxes and fines. Her ed committee uses performance metrics to allocate up to 50% of the college annual budgets. She expects to review and revise these metrics during this term. Discussions are also focused on municipal pensions, gun control and free speech on campus.  Some of these topics will result in future legislation.
Rotarians were out in the community providing dictionaries to every third grader in the Benton Harbor Area Schools and all the area charter schools. Each dictionary has a place for the student's name and is presented by a Rotarian.  This year the dictionaries also have Rotary's Four Way Test printed on a label.  Thanks to Jim Smith and Sharyn Kaatz for organizing this project.
Dr. Terry McIlvaine says that frequently asking that question may indicate a loss of hearing.  Hearing loss is the third most prevalent health condition with links to diabetes, depression and dementia.  The gradual decline is often not noticed but the loss never gets better.  One Rotarian volunteered that he was checked last year and found he needed help with his hearing.  A baseline evaluation is recommended even if you don't think you have issues.
       Terry also had exciting news.  Professional Hearing has a commitment from the Starky Foundation to offer free hearing aids to those in need.  Plans are being made for the one-day event to held in May of 2018.  Rotary  members are asked to identify possible recipients for early screening and qualification.  Details are still being finalized so check their website early next year for event date and qualification procedures at www.prohear.net
Kevin Edlefson, a member of the Providence World Ministry, is part of a project called La Providencia in Honduras.  Orphans are removed from traditional institutions and joined to existing families in a new community structure.  The families are recruited to be long term residents which provides two important things to orphans: a two parent household and stability. Four houses have been built along with a school and a clinic.  Families grow coffee, bananas and tilapia for food and sale.  The village is adding housing for widows to provide the "aunts" and "grandparents" for the orphans.  Rotary International has provided a $250,000 global matching grant to provide school supplies and housing needs.  Every $1 donated will be matched by $3.50 from Rotary. Click here to learn more or donate.  For more information contact the Sacramento Rotary at claytonlee7@gmail.com  .
Our own Kyra Utroske, an artist with a studio at 210 Water Street, explained the Benton Harbor Art Hop. The hop is organized by New Territory Arts Association. Every four months, the businesses in the Benton Harbor Arts District choose a Friday to host an Art Hop. It’s a family-friendly evening filled with an entertaining mix of art, music, dance, theater, culinary arts and more. Come check out the multiple venues along the walkable Arts District streets. Be sure to meet Mert Unger, the new Artist-in-Residence at the Glassworks.  Meet your neighbors, talk with business owners and see impressive art. These popular events truly connect people with NTAA’s belief that “Art Builds Community.”  No admission charge, 6-9 pm.
The next two events are October 20 and December 8, 2017
Marian Prince, PhD, has made four trips to Nepal to improve math education. Now she is collaborating with Choice Humanitarian to provide 50 advanced TI graphing calculators to teach difficult topics, one each for 50 middle and high school teachers in the village of Lamjung. These tools allow the teachers to go beyond plugging values into formulas. Her goal is $7,000 for the next trip.  To learn more or donate to the Nepal Calculator Project click here. Marian was advised to contact a Rotary club in Nepal and to pursue an RI grant.
Marian also works locally. Through her position at Andrews University she has developed Math in a Box, a mixture of math games to improve math skills.  The Box is available for temporary use reserving a box at Andrews; click here. The box is delivered to any school in Berrien County.
Rhonda Pallas is the Center Director for Tri County Head Start on McCord in Benton Harbor.  Ellen Russell is her sponsor.  Rhonda lives in Stevensville.  She has been active with the Road to Life food pantry and Right to Life. Welcome Rhonda!
First graders at Countryside Early Learning Center received iPads from Rotary and Toys for the Needy. Eleven students and parents signed up and were on hand to receive their iPads. The devices have apps and links to promote increased reading and math skills. The program was made possible by grants from Rotary District 6360 and Getman Corporation, Bangor, MI. Photo by Don Campbell, Herald Palladium Staff .
Julia Gourley, Executive Director of Krasl Art Center, on left, and Tami Miller, Curator of Art & Education, were welcomed by president Brian Saxton. The speakers were on hand to introduce their latest public art initiative.  Every five years the center takes on a major project.  This time involves re-configuring the plaza area to incorporate an arch designed by Richard Hunt.  See photo below for a model of the arch with the artist. The final piece will be 20 feet tall and encourage visitors to linger, take photos and stage events. The total project cost is $1.7 million.  Ground breaking is planned for April 2018.  Donations are now being accepted to match a $50,000 challenge grant.  Click here to donate. 
This selfie shows, from left, Mike Scheffler, Larry Culby and Lee Scherwitz below the rail they installed at the MLK playground. The rail had to be removed and welded before it could be put back into service.  Well done to the A-Team!
Elizabeth McCree, Esq. returned to Benton Harbor after Spelman College, law school and legal practice in Georgia. In 2013 she was a prosecutor in the family courts and saw how it takes four systems - school, welfare, mental health and justice - working together to put young people on the path to success.  She recently open a practice in Benton Harbor and recognized a need for more lawyers to replace the retiring generation.  This eventually lead to her plans to conduct a summer camp in 2018. The camp would be open to all Berrien County residents grades 9 to 12, plus those graduated in last two years. The camp will be intensive, with three weeks of activities including two field trips.  She is drawing in state and local resources to put on the camp.  Scholarships will be available. Contact her at attorneymccree@outloook.com if you would like to help her with this important endeavor.
President Brian Saxton, on right in each group, presents Paul Harris Fellow awards to, from left, Bob McFeeter, Carol Bly and Larry Culby. These awards were part of Jim Smith's dollar-for-dollar matching challenge.
Jim Smith's efforts to promote Paul Harris Fellows added two more awards.  Shown above Felicia Smith and Mike Scheffler receive their first awards from president Brian Saxton,  These latest awards add to the awards presented during our visit to Morton House Museum; to  Dyann Chenault, her first, and repeat winners, Alice Ford, Pam Pappas and Bob Elliott. Felecia's award was a surprise gift from her tablemates.
The team from Jimmy Johns won the 2017 Great Bed Race.  They overcame an early loss to defeat Lakeland ER twice for the win. The race had new teams from Leco and United Federal Credit Union and Lakeland ER. Returning teams were: Abonmarche, Elks, Home Depot, Lakeland Homecare, Lakeland Building Services, Starks, FOP and Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary.  Leco won the fundraising award and a first round bye.
Turn out was Great.  myTeamTriumph had a Great event.  Bob Gifford's audio-visual extravaganza was Great. Jon Wallace our emcee was Great.  Everyone had a Great time.  Check out the photos here. Thanks to all Rotarians, volunteers, and sponsors that made the event possible.  Results are posted here.
The club moved its regular breakfast meeting to enjoy an evening at the Morton House Museum.  President Brian Saxton was starting a new tradition to do something different on the four months each year that have five Wednesdays. The visit included a meal organized by Patrice Grant with Lee Scherwitz at the grill and members providing sides and dessert. A docent of the museum provided some history of the Morton Shipping company and the toys they also manufactured.  A tour of the home concluded the visit.
District 6360 Governor, Teresa Brandell is shown shaking hands with Ian Riseley, RI President for 2017-2018.  She used her annual visit to our club to reinforce this year's RI presidential theme: Making a Difference.  It starts with a challenge for every member to plant a tree. She emphasized following her late father's practice of wearing your Rotary pin every day - it starts conversations and provides opportunities to promote Rotary. She also introduced the new polio message: Drop to Zero.  With only nine new cases this year, Zero is in our immediate future. Progress from 350,000 cases per year to nine is an amazing accomplishment. Financial support is still needed to finish the job.
Many members and partners went sailing on Lake Michigan.  Shown above, clockwise from top left, is Cindy Kinney, looking very relaxed but not driving, and drivers: Eddie Marshall, Alan Bartlett and Momono, RYE student just arrived from Japan. Thanks to the four boat owners for providing the opportunity for a great night of sailing and Rotary fellowship: Ron Grossman, Andy Grootenhorst, Kevin Geiser and Ann Dahmer and Judd Brown. And thanks to Mike and Cindy Kinney for organizing the event and the St. Joseph Junior Foundation for use of their boathouse.
Rotarians and friends completed most of the repairs to make the MLK playground ready for students.  Several pieces were removed and replaced.  Lee Scherwitz took the track ride - a 12 foot section - for repair that was beyond hand tools.  See more images in the MLK Playground photo album, click here.
Momono, center, is between Aicha, who spent a last year in Japan, and Lee Scherwitz, district and club Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) Chairman. Momono just arrived from Japan but she had already met many  members during the Rotary sailing adventure.  Welcome, Momono!  Best wishes for a wonderful RYE year in America and Southwest Michigan.
Quincy and Desirae are shown at Rotary Youth Leadership Academy Camp. The relaxed pose is surprising since the camp puts everyone in learning situations. Thanks to Mike Scheffler, new generations chairman, for getting our students to RYLA Camp.
Our own club's Jim Smith was our presenter this week.  Jim's passion is The Rotary Foundation.  Under Rotary president Arch Klumph the foundation was started in 1917. But the start was slow, awarding its first $500 grant in 1930. After the 1947 death of founder Paul Harris, however, memorial donations eclipsed $1 million dollars. The idea of the Paul Harris Fellowship continues this tradition of memorial donations for "doing good in the world."  Jim offered to use his points to match donations dollar-for-dollar to help all club members reach their first or next Paul Harris level of $1,000. Many checks were written that day.  Way to go Jim!
Graham Bryan is shown receiving his club banner from president Brian Saxton during his induction into Rotary.  This banner is the last of its kind as the club will design a new banner that conforms to the new Rotary design guidelines. Graham is from the UK and works at Chase as a private client banker. He is married to Meghan and admitted to having a unique family situation: one in college and one in diapers. Jim Smith is Graham's sponsor.  Welcome Graham.
Aicha Camara's Japanese still flows freely after a week at home from her Rotary Youth Exchange year in Yokohama, Japan. Today's presentation was more about the personal elements of her experience. When she agreed to the program she had two goals: become a confident public speaker and overcome her fear of roller coasters.  She started right speaking at the meeting of outbound students last July and during her time in Japan she made monthly presentation at her host district meetings, in Japanese. She clearly exceeded that goal.  The roller coast took more time but she road a few world class coaster during her last month in Japan. Aicha plans to work for a year and then pursue a college degree in International Studies, with a minor in Japanese.  Shown below she hugs a school friend and presents a flags from her hosts.
Rev. Dr. Oscar Varnadoe III retired from the Chicago school system and felt a calling to serve the community in Benton Harbor. His new church is part of the Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ. His church is a "restart", taking the old Gothic church near Pipestone and Broadway. He said he could relate to Rotary's motto of Service Above Self, since he views that as Christ's command to His followers.  He is building a congregation and trying to learn how he can serve the community.  Welcome, Senior Pastor Varnadoe III.
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Benton Harbor-Sunrise

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 7:00 AM
Elks Lodge (BPOE 541)
601 Riverview Dr.
For mail: PO Box 1552
Benton Harbor, MI  49022-1552
United States
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Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
President Nominee
Immediate Past President


Pam Pappas - September 5

Mike Scheffler - September 8

Bob Elliott - September 30


Lee Scherwitz - Oct 9

Larry Culby - Oct 14

Lorraine Day - Oct 14

Kevin Geiser - Oct 14

Sarah Stocker - Oct 20


Brian Tutton - Nov 22
Rotary membership gives men and women an opportunity to forge new friendships and share the rewards of helping others through volunteer service.