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Nov 202019
 

Local clubs are the “heartbeat” of Rotary International, but need training to grow stronger and more effectively serve their communities.  That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard Nov. 20 from guest speaker Tom Ledbetter (shown with Capital member Neda Beal), head of District 7770’s Rotary Leadership Institute programs.  The institute is a learning experience consisting of separate sessions in three parts: (1) exploring Rotary’s roots, engaging members and creating service projects; (2) strategic planning, team building and attracting members; and (3) public relations, effective leadership strategies and club communications.  Developing leaders is key for service clubs to get and retain younger members.  Ledbetter said District 7770’s Rotarians average 58 years old.  “Aging out” impacts a club’s ability to conduct events and projects that advance the goal of “service above self.”  Noting that “it’s not your father’s Rotary anymore,” Ledbetter said persons ages 25-45 must be engaged in worthwhile activities before they’re willing to make a commitment.  He believes Leadership Institute training would benefit every new Rotarian in his or her first two years of membership.  Ledbetter is a charter member and past president of the West Metro-West Columbia club and is associate vice provost with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Educational Support at Midlands Technical College.

Guest speaker Tom Ledbetter 400

Nov 152019
 

Joey Von Nessen (right in photo with Rotarian Stephen West), a research economist at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, shared the state’s 2019 market overview as Capital Rotary’s guest speaker Nov. 13.  He said this year has been an economic roller coaster due to tariff and trade disputes, slowing global markets, fluctuating interest rates and waning of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 stimulus.  Auto tariffs affect the Palmetto State via increased costs in the short run and potential changes in global production strategies in the long run.  After peaking in 2015, our employment growth began to fall and is at 2% so far this year.  But Von Nessen noted that every county has had employment gains at or above the state average since 2018.  Labor costs, lumber costs and higher interest rates have negatively impacted the state’s construction industry, but the latter two are more positive recently.  Although South Carolina is well-positioned for 2019, Von Nessen said the bottom line is that a “decaf” economy (lacking stimulus) combined with higher uncertainty worldwide means slower growth.  Von Nessen serves on the advisory committee of the SC Board of Economic Advisors and is responsible for preparation and presentation of USC’s annual statewide economic forecast.  He’s regularly invited to brief the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on the state’s market conditions.

Joey Von Nessen 400

Oct 302019
 

Capital Rotary members toured the City of Columbia’s Busby Street Community Center on Oct. 30 as part of the club’s 5th Wednesday program that features local field trips instead of a regular breakfast meeting.  The complex off Farrow Road opened in November 2018 as a local engagement and resource center for the Burton Heights/Standish Acres neighborhood.  It has two buildings – a nearly 7,000-quare-foot community center run by City Parks & Recreation and a 1,400 square-foot City Police substation.  The center includes bathrooms, multi-purpose offices, a kitchen, a conference room and a large presentation space with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment.  Outside there’s a fitness walking trail and children’s playground.  Tour participants included (left to right in photo) Katherine Anderson, Gloria Saeed, Felicia Maloney, Officer Ron Felder, recreation coordinator Jalesa McKelvey, Christina Myers, Ione Cockrell, City Parks & Recreation director Randy Davis, Ann Elliott, Bob Davis and Rowland Alston.

Busby tour 700  Busby Center 700

Oct 282019
 

EarlyAct Club members at St. Peter’s Catholic School have presented a check for $112 to Bernie Riedel (red t-shirt in back row), past governor for Rotary District 7770 and current End Polio Now chair.  The youngsters held a Purple Pinkie Fundraiser (each donation gets one of your fingers painted purple) in support of Rotary International’s campaign to eradicate polio worldwide.  Their contribution will be matched two-fold by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation – a campaign partner – so that an additional 3,000 children in third-world countries can receive polio vaccinations.  End Polio Now has helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.  Columbia-area Rotarians sponsor St, Peter’s EarlyAct Club as a service organization for students ages 5 to 13.  It helps youth develop character and leadership skills linked to the ideals of Rotary International.

EarlyAct donation 600

Oct 232019
 

In folklore, vampires are undead creatures feeding on blood from the living.  In reality, our homes are well-stocked with energy vampires – electronic devices that drain power even where they’re not in use and that can suck up to 10% of your monthly bill, according to Mary Pat Baldauf (in photo).  She’s the City of Columbia’s sustainability facilitator and was Capital Rotary’s Oct. 23 guest speaker.  Energy vampires are easy to spot because they (1) use an external power supply; (2) may include a remote control; (3) have a continuous display or LED status light; (4) may contain a battery charger; and (5) can feature a soft-touch key pad.  Common examples include cable/satellite boxes; DVR, VCR, DVD players; mobile phone devices; video game consoles; and standby coffee makers.  Baldauf said “slaying” energy vampires might be as simple as pulling the plug, especially for devices not used very often.  Other remedies are (1) making use of energy-saving features — such as sleep mode — commonly built into electronics; (2) plugging into smart power strips that automatically cut the current when devices are not in use.; and (3) replacing old or broken products with ones that are more energy efficient and have a lower than average standby consumption rate.  Baldauf noted that none of these strategies will eliminate power bills altogether, but a few small steps over time will save money.  A University of South Carolina graduate, Baldauf engages residents, businesses and city employees in environmental and climate protection initiatives.

Guest speaker Mary Pat Baldauf 400

Oct 192019
 

District 7770 Gov. Johnny Moore (right in photo) has honored Columbia’s Capital Rotary for 2018-2019 donations to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable fund for programs promoting peace and world understanding.  Moore presented three recognition banners to immediate past president Philip Flynn.  These included (1) ranking in the Top Three Highest in Per Capital Annual Giving in the district; (2) achieving Every Rotarian, Every Year status – a minimum Annual Fund contribution of $100 per capita; and (3) becoming a 100% Foundation Giving Club with 100% participation by members plus $100 average per capita contributions.  Capital Rotary also was named a Three-Star Club for showing year-after-year Foundation support.  Moore – a member of Chapin Sunrise Rotary – is a former assistant area governor and membership chairman for District 7770 that comprises nearly 4,000 Rotarians in clubs across the 25 eastern counties of South Carolina.

Guest speaker Johnny Moore 400

Oct 172019
 

Capital Rotary past president Blake Dubose (standing at right in back row) and his team of club members delivered new paperback dictionaries to third-grade students at Gadsden Elementary recently.  For 15 years Capital Rotary has donated the free books to 12 Richland District One grade schools as part of the Dictionary Project – an effort begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 to help young people become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners.  Locally, the Rotarians have given out more than 14,000 dictionaries over the years, while a number of other clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country also are Dictionary Project sponsors.  One of Rotary International’s worldwide goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.

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Oct 092019
 

For 37 years The Cooperative Ministry has been working hard for the “working poor” of the Midlands – those with low-wage jobs who are sometimes unable to meet basic living expenses.  Scott Vaughan, the non-profit’s community awareness director (pictured with Rotarian Neda Beal), was Capital Rotary’s Oct. 9 guest speaker.  He said local churches founded and still support the mission of focusing on short-term crisis assistance while build long-term self-sufficiency.  The Cooperative Ministry helped 12,380 people in 2018 including rent or utility assistance for 531 households.  Vaughan said the ministry’s “hand up but not handout” aid also was comprised of (1) food assistance – 6,025 people served; (2) free clothing for 6,259 clients; (3) free tax return preparation – 8,362 people served; (4) insurance counseling for 807 people; (5) car donations – six clients got vehicles for work transportation; and (6) working with five local firms for job placement.  The ministry provides Christian counseling and financial education classes as well.  Nearly 500 volunteers donated over 11,000 hours of time last year, along with support from more than 1,300 individual donors.  Vaughan is a University of Georgia graduate who completed a three-year executive program at Emory University.  He joined The Cooperative Ministry in 2017 after careers in journalism, marketing and in faith-based consulting for 5,000 congregations throughout North America.

Guest speaker Scott Vaughan 400

Oct 042019
 

Entrepreneurs looking to start or build a business can find help (and a cup of coffee) at weekly meetings in Columbia and four other communities across South Carolina.  That’s the idea behind 1 Million Cups – a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation initiative to strengthen education and entrepreneurship.  Columbia’s 1 Million Cups sessions take place at 9 a.m. each Wednesday in the Richland County Library’s main branch and are part of a network of 190 such events nationally.  Capital Rotary members were briefed on the program Oct. 2 by Sergio Aparicio and Tim Bradford (shown at right and at left in photo with Rotarian Abby Naas), local 1 Million Cups organizers.  They said 1 Million Cups is not a sales or investor pitch, but a chance for entrepreneurs to explain what they do and what kinds of challenges they’ve faced.  Each hour-long session includes networking, coaching, mentoring and encouragement.  Aparicio works in the city’s Economic Development Office and is currently pursuing International Economic Development Council certification.  Bradford has over 25 years of business management, consulting and marketing experience.  He’s president of The Bradford Group of Companies, LLC with offices locally and in Pittsburgh.  South Carolina’s other 1 Million Cups groups meet in Anderson, Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg.

1 million cups photo

Oct 032019
 

Rotary clubs in the Columbia area have launched an EarlyAct Club at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic School.  EarlyAct is a service organization for elementary students ages 5 to 13.  It   develops character and leadership skills closely linked to the ideals of Rotary International.  Capital Rotary member EJ Newby (left in photo) helped to distribute EarlyAct pins at St. Peter’s recent kickoff meeting.  Each EarlyActor also received a membership card explaining the Four-Way Test used by Rotarians worldwide as a moral code for the things we think, say or do in personal and business relationships.  Students will undertake various service projects during the school year and will be donating their spare change to support the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund.  This initiative began in South Carolina over 20 years ago and has since been adopted by Rotary clubs throughout the United States.  All of its donations go toward grants for research aimed at preventing or finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

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