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Vernon Silver Star Rotary

Vernon Silver Star

Service Above Self

We meet Tuesdays at 6:45 AM
for breakfast at
Schubert Centre
3505 30th Ave
Vernon, BC  V1T 2E6
District Site
Venue Map
Club Stories
Charlene Silvester hosted WL Seaton French Immersion teacher Stephanie Hewson, who spoke about her Okanagan Learning Foundation.  Seaton’s “feeder” elementary schools have “Starfish” programs, providing food to needy students each Friday, to supplement their weekend diets.  It occurred to Stephanie that these students’ needs don’t disappear when they move to secondary school, so in 2017 she began offering Friday food supplements to selected Seaton students.  At present, the Okanagan Learning Foundation serves 25 Seaton students, plus 10 at Fulton Secondary.  Plans are afoot to serve VSS, & in the future, more schools.  Proteins, carbs, fresh fruit, vegetables, some snacks, hygiene products, & clothes are offered on Fridays to one student at a time, to maintain privacy.  Students are involved in purchasing the food, & receive hints on meal preparation.  Teachers, counsellors & administrators make referrals to the program, then parents are contacted to complete annual applications.  OKLF also provides scholarships to students, & professional education grants to teachers.  About $35,000 has been spent since 2017.  Funding comes from private & corporate donations.

Bev Rundell introduced District Governor Peter Schultz who addressed Club and spoke of his involvement with Rotary and some of changes in Rotary. In Kelowna they have formed a “Chapter One Club” based on the first chapter of Rotary Procedures Manual; the Club is for those interested in Rotary but can’t commit to a full time membership for various reasons. They follow Rotary’s guiding principles and the moral compass of the 4 Way Test, they meet twice a month in a non-formal setting with their focus on Fellowship and Service. The Vernon Rotary Clubs are collectively working toward the establishment on a “Friends of Rotary Club” along the lines of the Kelowna based “Chapter One Club”. Peter spoke of Rotary’s core values of Fellowship, Service, Integrity, Leadership and Diversity and asked the question of members “You joined Rotary but when did you become a Rotarian?” Discussion took place and for Peter is was a two week Rotary trip to Ethiopia with 20 people including 3 plastic surgeons, nurses and support people to assist burn victims. Peter had roles of stewardship, quartermaster and photo journalist and this was when Peter became a “Rotarian”. Peter spoke with emotion of the trip and stated “truth leaks out your eyes” as he wiped his eye.

DG Peter and President Paul awarded Anne Marie Kanester a "Club Supporter of the Year" award, graciously accepted by Jim Kanester. On behalf of the club thank you Anne Marie for your ongoing support of Vernon Silver Star Rotary.

Reminder: District Conference in Kelowna, BC April 23-26, 2020, for registration and details go to the District 5060 website.

Calvin Reich introduced his wife Allyson, Lieutenant with Vernon Fire Rescue (VFR). When Allyson was approximately 12 a neighbour suggested that she should look to become a fire fighter as she was tall and athletic. Without any further thought as to becoming a firefighter life continued for Allyson. She eventually moved to Sun Peaks outside of Kamloops to help her parents with their convenience/liquor store and was also working as a ski-instructor; the thought of being a fire fighter was rekindled as a volunteer with the Sun Peaks Fire Service where she received training and experience. In August of 2005 Allyson applied for and was accepted as the 1st female fire fighter for VFR and has risen to the position of Lieutenant and is relief Fire Chief (when the Fire Chief is absent). There is considerable time spent training as each piece of equipment requires 30 hours of operating experience (ladder trucks, engines etc). People are surprised when they see a woman driving the ladder truck!! In addition to firefighting, VFR is 1st responder for motor vehicle accidents and medical assistance and are often at the scene prior to the ambulance which may be delayed. As a Lieutenant, Allyson is in charge of the truck and rides in front right seat. Vernon Fire Rescue covers a large geographic area and also assists on responses to Falkland as necessary. Fire Hall 1 is across from Vernon City Hall, Fire Hall 2 is the Okanagan Landing Hall and the Predator Ridge location is an Auxiliary Hall handled by Auxiliary Staff (in conjunction with Hall 1). VFR has 28 fulltime firefighters and are supported by 25 paid auxiliary members. Public buildings are set up with a lock box with VFS for emergency access. Allyson challenged SSR members to check their smoke detectors and reminded us that “the most important factor in fire prevention is YOU”.

Our Teresa Durning Harker described her contract work with Tourism Vernon Visitor Services.  Their office at 3004 39th Ave, on the north side of the former Civic Arena site, is on the evolving bike path through Vernon, & may soon be part of a newly developed park.  Though walk-in tourist inquiries remain an important part of their work, they’ve dropped significantly, as travelers make more use of online tools to plan their trips.  It’s no longer good enough to wait till tourists come to us – we must find & interact with them, if we want to remain competitive.  Teresa & her staff make extensive & growing use of social media tools to monitor inquiries & comments about the Vernon area, responding to questions, & posting comments.  Hootsuite, a social media management platform, is used daily to work with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube & other tools, to build & maintain a positive online presence.  Their work includes visitor surveys & regular local promotional events. Vernon Visitor Services work for stakeholders (hotels, motels, tourist attractions & businesses) in an unbiased, inclusive manner throughout the Greater Vernon, believing they only succeed if everyone succeeds.
Our Queen Silver Star Excellence Program candidate for 2019-20, Jessie Knight, was introduced by Dr Craig Goplen.  Jessie is a Grade 11 student at Clarence Fulton Secondary School.
Jim Kanester hosted Steve Fleck, who became the new Executive Director of our Greater Vernon Museum & Archives in March 2019.  He’s had a long career in education, including time spent in southern China.  These experiences have increased his awareness of the impact & importance of culture in our lives.  Following approval of a spending referendum to finance a new museum & art gallery, Vernon, neighbouring municipalities & provincial & federal partners are considering how best to develop a new “cultural facility.”  Steve described culture as “an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief & behaviour -- the outlook, attitudes, values, morals, goals & customs shared by a society.  Culture is the myriad of stories we learn & share that tell us who we are.  It is created & reborn every day.”  He feels it’s important to engage people through providing space for different groups to share their stories.  He also envisions opportunities for other local attractions & groups, such as the O’Keefe Ranch, Mackie House, & Science Center, to collaborate & share resources.  
President Paul Philps & ADG Bev Rundell announced our three Vernon Rotary Clubs will each donate $200 to seed a local “Friends of Rotary” group, catering to people who’ll support our projects.  They’ll meet less often, less formally, & at less cost than a traditional Rotary Club.  There’ll be no “poaching” of current club members.  Our club members are encouraged to provide names of prospective “Friends” to Paul, Bev, Teresa Durning Harker or Martin von Holst.  The first meeting of Friends of Rotary will be 5:30pm, Thu, Sep 5th at Wings Vernon, 5200 Anderson Way.
Jim Kanester asked members to support Vipers 50/50 Raffles scheduled for Sat, Sep 21st & Sat, Oct 19th.  Both games start at 6pm, so members should arrive by about 5pm to begin sales.
Dr Craig Goplen reported good pre-sales of tickets for our Fri, Sep 20th Father Daughter Ball.  He expects a surge of sales with girls returning to school & chatting up the event on social media.  Members are asked to help with set-up on the Friday morning, through the event on Friday evening, & with take-down on Sat AM.  Craig will also be bringing our Queen Silver Star candidate to an upcoming meeting.
Other upcoming events include school BBQs:  Harwood on Sep 11th, Mission Hill on Sep 17th; RLI training in Kelowna Oct 5th & 6th; & a Polio Night Dinner on Wed, Oct 23rd.
The REAL Inconvenient Truth About Climate Change
Our own Keith Johnston spoke about the other side of and still unsettled controversy that recent (last 120 years) of human activity has contributed growing amounts of carbon (CO2) into earth’s atmosphere. This is suggested to have increased green house gasses in the air effectively warming the global atmosphere and is the cause of disturbing changes observed in earth’s climate.
Climate, as we know has been evolutionary cyclical since the beginning of time and there is no denial that it will continue to be so. Keith contends human involvement amounts to one CO2 molecule in over 86,000 or little more than 0.001% in the air that conceivably cannot influence nor change climate. He backed his conclusion with a powerful, science based, power point showing numerous graph’s indicating that there is no correlation between increased carbon and global warming.
CO2 is a building block of life. Increasing it hugely benefits all plant life as witnessed by the increased greening of the earth and generating oxygen essential to human and animal survival.
His opening remarks refuted a recent insulting quote by David Suzuki that one would have to be uneducated, with no common sense and invested in the oil industry not to believe that humans, by burning fossil fuels, have caused extreme climate changes. Well over 37,000 US accredited scientists of varying disciplines would disagree with Suzuki.
The first short video from Australia demonstrated the .04% carbon fact to make the successful case against the imposition of a carbon tax. Keith followed with a series of slides featuring 6000 years of climate cycles lasting in various lengths from 100 to 1,000 where the highs coincided with historically successful civilizations such as the Egyptians, Romans etc., who prospered in climates much warmer than we have presently.
Proponents for reduced carbon emissions champion conversion to wind and solar power.  Keith demonstrated not only the inefficiency of wind and solar, working only when the wind blows and the sun shines, but also the devastating environmental damage, including radioactive waste, caused by the need for magnets and rare earth metals (controlled 98% by China) in manufacturing windmills.
Hurricanes and cyclones, contrary to popular belief, are not increasing in frequency and intensity. The worst hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 with 6,000 killed. Despite visuals of melting glaciers and icecaps, NASA photos from space indicate that Antarctic and Greenland ice is actually expanding. Finally, Keith quoted Dr. Judith Curry whose studies indicate the probability the earth is entering a cooling period.
Ross & Fiona Harris of the Salmon Arm Rotary Club talked about their most recent polio immunization work in India, as two of about 80 Rotarians, in January 2019.  Ross was diagnosed with polio in 1950, so this work holds special significance for him.  He’s one of about 25m post-polio sufferers.  Polio eradication by Rotarians started in the Philippines in 1979.  Drs Jonas Salk & Albert Sabin invented polio vaccines in the 1950s -- neither made any money by patenting their work, but both received a Presidential Medal of Freedom.  From Jan 3rd to 5th, 2020, the Rotary Club of Tajmahal Agra is hosting a Mega Polio Campaign.  Conditions & practices for Indian vaccinations are basic, but the program is successful, & the recipients grateful.  Food supplements supplied by the Indian government, for needy people in rural areas, are also distributed.  Costs for Rotary participants in the 2020 Agra campaign will run from +/-US$1,800/pp for the basic program (without airfares), to about US$6k/pp, including airfares & about 3 weeks of hotels, food, touring, etc.
Dr Craig Goplen reported that plans for the Fri, Sep 20th Father Daughter Ball are coming along well.  He asked members to be available for one or more of the Friday morning setup, Saturday morning take-down, or the Friday evening event.  Craig enjoys running this annual event, but would like to mentor a replacement or assistant.
Upcoming BBQs include Venture Training on Wed, Aug 21st;  Harwood Elementary on Wed, Sep 11th; & Mission Hill Elementary on Tue, Sep 17th.  Colin will deliver the BBQ trailer for the Venture Training event, & possibly the two schools as well.
Bev Rundell is meeting with our three local Rotary club Presidents to discuss their support of “Friends of Rotary,” a program to attract younger professionals to participate in periodic social events & community projects.  These are folks we’d like eventually to attract as full members, but for now, they’re typically not able to participate in traditional weekly Rotary meetings.  Each year, about 10% of our global Rotary members are lost, & replaced by new people.  To increase overall retention & new memberships, Rotary International is looking at various models of “non-traditional” participation.
Jim Kanester has applied for us to run Vipers 50/50 Raffles; if we’re assigned one over the Thanksgiving weekend, he’ll be away & need someone else to coordinate.  Jim reported that we’ll no longer be able to participate in the selection of recipients of our Okanagan College business student bursary, as the Community Foundation sees that as their role.

Jim Kanester introduced Dawn Charles and Carly Suddard of Brain Trust Canada. Dawn is the Resource Development and Community Engagement Manager and Carly in the Marketing and Events Coordinator. Carly spoke movingly about her own personal experience with brain injury this summer due a recent motor vehicle accident. SSR has donated to Brain Trust in the past and this year they were the named benefactor for our Rotary Ride. 1986 marked the beginnings of BrainTrust Canada which took shape under the direction of a small group of committed people who recognized a need for greater support and resources for those affected by brain injury.  It's their mission to bring the issue of brain injury to the forefront, maximize the potential of those who have been affected by brain injury, and reduce preventable brain injuries, especially among youth. Brain Trust provide direct service to persons with acquired brain injury.  The needs of those with brain injury are as varied and unique as the people themselves. Approximately 1.5 million people in Canada are living with a brain injury. The incidence of acquired brain injury outnumbers breast cancer, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS combined.  There is a growing number of brain injuries coming from those drug users who go into overdose. Naloxone may bring them back but there is very significant costs associated with the resulting brain injuries from having no oxygen for a prolonged period.
Dawn thanked members for the support, provided through Rotary Ride 2019, and look forward to expanding their involvement next year and improving how we can work together to increase participation. This would include utilizing their existing Kelowna and Vernon partners and their direct association with Kelowna area Rotary Clubs, in addition to supporting the Ride anyway then can.

Dave Hoyte introduced Zee Marcolin, General Manager Utilities with the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO). Zee briefly reviewed water quality history in our area and stated that the results of Walkerton in May 2000 led to BC Legislation  in 2001 and 2003 for water quality and standards. RDNO uses a multi barrier approach to ensure water quality is safe. Moving to a regional water source was started in 2003 with RDNO taking responsibility for supply and distribution of domestic and agricultural water in the Vernon area with the total costs since 2003 of $106 million. The focus now is on infrastructure renewal.  Zee also spoke of some of the challenges with the  Kal Lake source resulting in 3-7 shut downs a year for turbidity and milfoil cutting etc. 
The Master Water Plan is a living document to ensure present and future water needs are met. In 2017 a request for borrowing was turned down by the electorate (for approximately $68 million) for a 5 year improvement that has now be re-scheduled over 20-30 years due to the costs of these improvements. Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant did not qualify for conventional treatment credits and was non-compliant with  provincial health guidelines for surface water treatment and with the request to borrow the required $30 million for a filtration plant mandated by Interior Health being defeated (2017) another solution was required. RDNO with WSP came up with an innovative, economical and sustainable solution of UV disinfection. The total cost was under budget of $7 million versus $30 million for the filtration plant and of the $7 million $5.8 million was funded by grants with no borrowing as the balance was funded through user rates. This technology was developed and eventually approved by Interior Health. Our regional water system serves more than 58,000 residential, commercial, institutional and farming customers with both domestic and agricultural water.
Colin Heggie hosted Dr Brian Guy & Bill Darnell, co-chairs of Vernon’s Climate Action Advisory Committee.  Brian was a founder of Summit Environmental Consultants; Brian was a teacher & founding member of Greenpeace.  Their Committee is tasked with providing a report to City Council in Sep 2020, following a process including public input.  Brian distinguished between climate change adaptation & mitigation.  He pointed out that climate changes are more evident in higher latitudes – Canada, Russia & the Scandinavian countries.  One in eight flora & fauna species are at risk.  Costs of repair, following serious weather & fire events are skyrocketing, so insurance industry professionals are among those best informed about climate change.  There are substantial short-term benefits from taking steps now to mitigate against future impacts.  We were invited to send our thoughts about how to adapt (prepare for change), & mitigate (reduce sources of greenhouse gases), to the Committee through  

2019/20 Silver Star Rotary President Paul Philps presented a video from District Governor Peter Schultz outlining district goals and resources available at District 5060 website. All are invited to circle the dates of April 23-26, 2020 to make plans to attend the District Conference in Kelowna, BC.

Paul briefly talked about his Club goals to attract new members, make “life easier” for members and ensure Rotary is accessible, with more information to come.


Janet Green introduced Murray Wilson who is a woodlands manager with Tolko Industries. He spoke about forest management and the 2017/18 wild fires in B.C. In British Columbia Tolko has a woodlands management team in the Cariboo and the southern interior area, covering a total area of about 3,000,000 hectares.  The Woodlands Teams are held to the highest standard in planning forest management. They develop comprehensive plans guided by our Sustainable Forest Initiatives (SFI) forest certification, along with Federal, Provincial and local principles. These plans are then subject to extensive review involving Indigenous peoples and stakeholders in our communities. This is the key to success in managing our forests. The  2017/18 wild fires created a huge negative economic impact on forestry, tourism, ranching and business in the local communities adjacent to the fires not only during the particular year but effects are longer lasting. He stated that current years’ vacation numbers are showing decreased bookings  for the July and August periods and are attributable to recent years forest fires.

Some 60% of the burned timber from a fire is not recoverable according to Murray and government and stakeholders need to do more to improve forest conditions, forests are dynamic and go through a life cycle and need to be rejuvenated. Post fire recovery needs improved urgency with harvesting and replanting, when forest companies are allowed to harvest the burned stands they are responsible for the re-planting and management for some 20 years whereas if the stands are not harvested there is no action on replanting consequently the forest is not restored. It was noted from aerial photos that when wild fires reach new younger stands of replanted forests the spread of the wild fire is curtailed.

The Tolko website will provide much more information about their business and how they handle forest management -

Dr Craig Goplen introduced Ray Verlage, a founder of Men’s Shed Vernon.  Rays says retirement means different things to different people, but it doesn’t mean stop!  He prefers the term “redeploy.”  Some people get lonely after retirement, particularly those who’ve worked hard at jobs involving a lot of people contact.  Men’s sheds focus on building projects & healthy social interactions amongst members, & with local non-profits.  New members are warned that if they’re not careful, they might learn something, or feel better about themselves!  There are three types of projects: 1) self-financed for individuals or groups, 2) enterprises for selling goods or services, & 3) community service.  There are presently about 6,500 Vernon men over 65 – a demographic growing at 15% annually.  The Vernon Men’s Shed started in 2018.  It aims to capture 5% of those men as members, & to acquire a suitable meeting place of 3,000 to 4,000 square feet.  They presently meet 9am to 1pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays, at Elephant Storage, 6136 Okanagan Ave.  Visit
Our member Eric Gombrich travels North America for his marketing job in the healthcare industry.  Today, he talked about trends in healthcare.  An aging population translates to a gradual increase in healthcare spending as a % of GDP.  Compared to the USA, Canada has fewer physicians per 1,000 people, but we use them more.  This is largely a function of the remuneration model, which encourages doctors to see more people, particularly for simple complaints.  Eric believes how we pay for, & how we deliver healthcare, need to be split, to facilitate systemic improvements.  He thinks our Canadian single-payer system is good, but more options in delivering care would allow innovations & cost-savings.  The way doctors are paid is inefficient & obstructs a re-alignment of resources.  Politics & our own delusions also prevent positive change.  Treatments need to become more preventative vs. acute; we need “decentralization,” & “consumerization” of care.  He talked about the growth & impact of technology, through telemedicine, use of robotics in surgery, & “polyclinics,” where patients, even in small communities, can see multiple practitioners under a single roof, in a single day.  Advances in technology, & investments in integrating pharmacies, health clinics & major grocery chains is moving the healthcare agenda into the hands of consumers & business, away from governments either unable or unwilling to make changes.
Bev Rundell introduced Holly Vanjoff and Jennifer Glen from Interior Health Overdose Prevention to speak about the overdose crises in BC and their rolls in prevention and education. The goal is to reduce overdose fatalities by providing awareness and training to the public, both those who use drugs and people who can help victims when they are in crisis. This is achieved through group presentations, one on one with drug users on the streets, concerts and anywhere there is potential drug use. Illicit drug fatalities have increased significantly since 2015 and are in direct correlation with the use of fentanyl in the production of illicit drugs. This has led to the overdose crisis not just with street drug users but recreational user as well. Prior to 2015 fatalities from drugs were relatively consistent.
There is no part of our population that is unaffected by this crisis and Naloxone is effective in the reduction in deaths when administered. Naloxone can restore breathing within 2 to 5 minutes. When someone takes an opioid, it affects certain receptors in your brain. Naloxone works by kicking opioids off the receptors in your brain and binding to those receptors instead. This reverses or blocks the effects of opioids on your body. Naloxone only works if you have opioids in your system, such as:
  • fentanyl
  • heroin
  • morphine
  • codeine
While naloxone is only active in the body for 20 to 90 minutes, the effects of most opioids last longer. This means that the effects of naloxone are likely to wear off before the opioids are gone from the body, which causes breathing to stop again. Naloxone may need to be used again, depending on the amount or type of opioid taken. Naloxone is safe for all ages. It only works if you have opioids in your system. You cannot use naloxone improperly and does not create dependence. It is safe to keep a naloxone kit on hand.
Naloxone kits were made available and a review of how to use the kits was provided. In addition members were given hands on training on how to administer Naloxone including loading the syringe and injecting in the thigh or shoulder. Kits are provided free to the public in BC.  Anyone can administer Naloxone, you are not required to be licensed and are protected under the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.
For more information visit: ,
Loredana Eisenhauer introduced local computer security contractor Robert Spraggs, COO of Aegis Systems Canada, which provides cybersecurity for a variety clients.  He claims that in 2018, 40% of small & medium-sized businesses were attacked, because 1 - protection is expensive, 2 – security is often outsourced, & 3 – remote access increases risk.  Hackers will access your files, encrypt them, then demand a ransom for an encryption key.  Even in cases where a ransom is paid quickly, typical downtime is at least a week, so the cost of downtime is added to the cost of the ransom, & all the resources needed to solve the problems.  Windows 10 allows some protection from ransomware, through use of OneDrive, but all files then become subject to US law & NSA scrutiny.  One’s best protection is through daily off-site or off-line backups, testing your preparedness, & ensuring your protection software is always up-to-date, including firmware on routers & firewalls.
Teresa Bartel introduced her Railway Plaza neighbour, pharmacist Gerard Kampman, owner of North End Pharmacy Remedy’s Rx.  Gerard provided an update on shingles, the herpes zoster, which is the same virus as chicken pox.  Chicken pox in children is very contagious, but relatively benign, whereas shingles in adults is painful, & can have a significant impact on quality of life, particularly if a chronic phase produces ongoing pain.  Risk factors for shingles increase with age, lack of previous chicken pox or the vaccine, a compromised immune system or co-existing medical conditions.  Since the mid-1990’s, vaccines have been available for children, to prevent chicken pox.  In 2006, the Zostavax® vaccine was introduced to help prevent shingles in adults.  A new, more effective vaccine, “Shingrix,” is now available.  It requires two intramuscular injections, several weeks apart, with some local discomfort &/or fever, at a total cost of around $300.  Neither Zostavax® or Shingrix is guaranteed to eliminate shingles, but they will reduce the severity of the condition, & the likelihood of an ongoing painful chronic phase.  
Givonna DeBruin hosted Ruth Hoyte, elected for the first time as a District of Coldstream Councillor in October 2018.  Though Ruth had no previous political experience, she was well-known for her work with the Downtown Vernon Association, the insurance business, dance instruction, & her outgoing personality.  Appointed to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, & alternate to the Regional District of North Okanagan Board, being a Councillor is serious business, requiring a lot of reading, preparation & research, aside from being a patient listener.  Ruth is enjoying her new role, & the daily challenges it presents.
Bob Clarke hosted Kai Rogers, 2017-18 outbound Rotary Youth Exchange Student to Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia.  Kai learned that about 60% of Bolivia’s 12m residents live in poverty.  The government provides an annual subsidy of about US$28 per child, to help parents pay for school supplies, in hopes of encouraging all children to stay in school through at least grade six.  Most schools are fenced, both to keep students in, & non-students out.  He noted cultural & attitudinal differences between indigenous people, & those descended from European stock.  Throughout Bolivian history, political coups, both successful & unsuccessful, have been frequent.  Kai had two host families, & enjoyed them both.  Rotary arranged for he & other RYES to do a 2½ week tour of the country.  He participated in Carnaval (3 festival days over Lent), navigated his way through visa & border challenges following a few days in Argentina, & also visited Machu Picchu.  Kai is very grateful for his RYES experience.
On Sunday afternoon, Apr 28th, 2019, a large gathering at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre honored the life & legacy of our long-time member, Ken Barton, who left us Jan 10th.  Over a dozen of our current & past members attended.  The first part of the program, hosted by our club's Dr John Wheeldon, included contributions from Dave Weatherill, President Gillian Canniff, & past members Dennis Windsor & Keray Regan, about Ken's long & distinguished membership in Rotary.  ABNC Board Chair Jim Popowich, Director David Guscott, & past Director Ken Finch then spoke about Ken’s 24 years of contributions to their organization.  He held many positions, including Treasurer, Chairman, & most recently Director Emeritus.  It would not be an exaggeration to say Ken’s work with ABNC, in a wide variety of ways, was integral to its success.  In honour of his work, & particularly in recognition of his interest in educating youth about nature, ABNC has named their educational facility the “Ken Barton Learning Centre.”  A scholarship in Ken's name is also being established, to support a worthy student in an environmental field.
Bob France took our meeting to Hillview Elementary, where we were welcomed by Parent Advisory Council member Marina, Principal Brian Smyth, VP Ken Wandeler & teacher librarian Tracey Barrie.  Hillview currently has 368 students & about 40 staff.  Through their PAC’s annual December “Breakfast with Santa” program, which our club cooks for, about $10,000 has been raised in the past three years.  These funds support their school library, which is morphing into a “Learning Commons.”  Tracey explained that BC’s two-year old curriculum changes have introduced more collaborative & team-based learning.  Teachers now assess more “competencies” & less “content.”  PAC-raised funds have added furniture to the library, & most importantly, “virtual field trip technology,” supported by BC’s “Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium” (ERAC), offering a huge variety of interesting & popular low-cost “visits” without leaving a classroom.  Future funds will likely help purchase or replace iPads & other learning tools.
Kelly Fehr is a City of Vernon Councillor, & Co-Executive Director of Turning Points Collaborative, a local non-profit involved in support services, temporary shelter, housing, addictions recovery, harm reduction, interventions, etc., for less fortunate people.  With an annual budget of about $4m, & about 90 full-time & casual employees, they have a big impact on our community.  Most of their funding comes from government grants, but there’s never enough money to serve the many needs.  A particular short-coming is funding for addiction recovery – an average of 20 people per month are turned away, for lack of funds.  Private recovery program costs are measured in many thousands of dollars per week, but more modest publicly subsidized programs, costing much less, are hugely over-subscribed.  Turning Points believe a key strategy in helping their clients is to bring services to them, as opposed to asking disadvantaged people to find their own way to services.
Sid Adams, a former member of Vernon's Tri Lakes Rotary Club, received a kidney transplant in Nov 2017.  He & his donor are both doing well.  Along with several other locals, Sid formed a North Okanagan Chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada in January of this year.  He shared his experience, & encouraged everyone to consider being organ donors.
Long-time 1st Coldstream Scouts leader Glen Dick brought four of his charges to explain their upcoming July 6th to 13th Pacific Jamboree at Camp Barnard, on Young Lake, near Sooke, BC.  This event will include about 3,000 15+ year old participants from near and far – an opportunity for meeting other scouters from many places.  The 2019 theme is “Myths & Legends.”  1st Coldstream has long been sponsored by the Coldstream Ranch, with additional help from the Coldstream Fire Dept.  About 25% of members are female.  About 60% of the estimated $10,000 cost of attending the Jamboree has been raised.
Rob Whitelaw hosted Toby Frisk, Chair of the Okanagan Friends of Rail Trail (FoRT).  The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative raised $7.8m to build 50kms of trail between the north end of Kalamalka Lake & Manhattan Point, just north of downtown Kelowna, on Okanagan Lake.  The trail is owned & maintained by the governments of the four jurisdictions in which it’s located, through the Okanagan Rail Trail Committee.  FoRT is the official liaison & society associated with the trail.  Their mandate is to enhance user experiences, protect the environment, inspire users & provide stewardship.  Trail ambassadors will be recruited & trained to help users, & to collect user data; fund-raisers will provide amenity infrastructure, & learning opportunities will be developed.  Eventually, it’s hoped the Okanagan trail will link with others, to provide “world class” facilities for walkers, hikers & cyclists.
Keith Johnston introduced Wendy Majewsky, who gave us an introduction to several aspects of her “Life Mastery” coaching practice.  This follows a varied career in teaching & working in different capacities for municipalities, including Transportation Demand Management in Vernon.  Her purpose is to help people identify & achieve their goals, by looking at four key areas: vocation, health, relationships & time/money freedom.  Wendy believes there are two “signals” for personal growth – longings & discontent.  By finding clarity in our vision of the person we want to be, we also find the power to help make it happen.    
Dave Weatherill hosted author, speaker & puppeteer Cindy Bertrand Larson, a former palliative caregiver, who now works as a therapist for the sick, aged, dying, & their supporters.  She described the five most common complaints, & two fears, of older people.  The complaints are 1 – constipation (drink more water), 2 – aches & pains (move more), 3 – depression (follow interesting or inspiring routines), 4 – loneliness (reach out, be reached, & maybe get a pet), & 5 – memory loss.  The two great fears are being a burden, and dying alone in pain.  Cindy’s animated & amusing presentation concluded with offers of her book, “End of Life Stories – Tips & Tools for the Souls Journey Home.” 
Charlene Silvester reported another successful “Project Save-A-Life” -- CPR Knowledge & Awareness sessions held Sat, Mar 2nd at Fulton Secondary.  Vernon Fire & Rescue Services, who deliver the information, are keen to continue these sessions.  Charlene will meet with her committee soon to review & plan for next year.
Margaret Clark, a former correctional officer, now Executive Director of the Restorative Justice Society of North Okanagan, was hosted by Martin von Holst.  RJS-NO supports & advocates on behalf of persons affected and/or in conflict with the law.  RJ is for victims first & foremost, with a focus on the offender(s).  It’s an alternative to the criminal justice system, only where the victim agrees to the referral, & the offender admits to the harm.  Victims help determine the outcome they want, & at the end of discussions & restoration, a report to the RCMP outlines compliance.  Of about 300 referrals since 2009, Margaret has witnessed 3 ending in non-compliance.  Evidence shows RJ reduces recidivism, & costs substantially less than traditional “justice,” but a lack of funding, particularly from our provincial government, limits program capacity.
Bev Rundell hosted Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming (elected Oct 20th, 2018), who observed that inadequate spending on infrastructure repair has led to a need for substantial remedial work over the next few decades.  Municipalities look after their “5 P’s,” being Plumbing (water, sewer & storm drains), Protection (RCMP), Planning, Paving & Parks.  Other expectations include Promotion & Housing.  Smaller upcoming projects include an extension of the bike path to Village Green Mall, repair of the failed drainage on the south side of Vernon Toyota, & construction of a dedicated sewage line for the OK Springs brewery.  Large projects include redevelopment of the Kin Race Track & Civic Arena properties, plus a plan for the Cultural Centre approved by referendum.  Victor enjoys working with City staff, whom he feels are doing a good job.
One of our longest serving members, Ken joined SSR in July 1986, following clubs in Yellowhead, Prince George & Burns Lake.  He led committees for membership, community service, international service, District GSE, & was our President twice.  A consistent & reliable presence at countless fund-raisers, work days, BBQs, club events & socials, Ken exemplified all that is good about Rotary.  He was even able to calm our irrepressible Dr John on their travels together!  Ken was taken too soon, & will be sorely missed.  
Club member Lt. Stefan Reid explained his recent absence, saying he recently returned from a Salvation Army assignment to disaster relief, following Hurricane Michael in Panama.  He came back in time to dive into their House of Hope kettle campaign, with a goal of raising $500,000 to support needy Vernon area families.  Kettle locations are all indoors, & we’re invited to sign up for shifts.  Red “Hope bracelets” are being handed out province-wide to donors, indicating their support of poverty relief.  Our Vernon House of Hope has hired a new men’s addiction counsellor who’ll start in Jan 2019.  On Wednesday this week, local realtors will conduct their annual food drive, hoping to collect 40,000 pounds of food to fill the Food Bank shelves.  For the second year, Christmas food hampers for needy families will be replaced by Save-On-Foods vouchers, which may be redeemed for the items most wanted.  Children’s toys, teen’s clothing & treats from Rancho Vignolo will still be available to supplement the food vouchers, & volunteer drivers will help transport people with their groceries, as needed.  About 600 to 650 families are expected to receive Christmas help.  Finally, Stefan has order a new moving truck, & work is progressing on their warehouse addition to the 24th St Thrift Store.
Paul Philps hosted City of Vernon Councillor (& recently retired Mayor) Akbal Mund, in his capacity as a Vice President of Special Olympics Vernon.  From Feb 19th to 21st, 2019, Vernon will host 8 events for children & adults: alpine skiing, 5-pin bowling, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing & speed skating.  About 900 athletes are expected to compete, with the help of about 250 coaches, staff & volunteers.  A variety of local Special Olympic programs provide recreation & empowerment year-round, preparing competitors for these Games.  We have several world champion athletes in our area, including Josh Dueck, Ina Forster & Sonia Gaudet.  Akbal asked that we consider volunteering to help run the games, as individuals, or as a club project.  He believes we have the club resources to serve meals to athletes.
Don Miller hosted Dick Auty, a retired Kelowna fireman who leads the Freemasons of Kelowna in their partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, to provide free round-trip transport for Okanagan cancer patients.  Patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments at the Kelowna Cancer Centre are eligible, based on need & availability.  Passengers must be mobile, & flexible about pickup times.  This unadvertised program is jointly financed directly by Masons, & by donations.  The annual operating budget for the Okanagan area is about $375,000.  This supports four seven to nine passenger vans, plus unpaid volunteer dispatchers, drivers & a maintenance team.  Over the past twenty years, the Vernon part of this operation has served about 8,000 patients, through 28,000 trips, covering 900,000 kms!  Our former member, Brenda Erickson, who joined us today, is one of the volunteer drivers.
Martin von Holst thanked retired teacher/counsellor Pam Fournier for her talk about “Roots of Empathy,” a non-profit whose mission is to build caring, peaceful, & civil societies through the development of empathy in children & adults.  Founded in 1996, & now in 12 countries, this program has been offered in Vernon schools since 2006.  Elementary school children are taught to observe, recognize & reflect on their feelings, & feelings of others, by having a baby (& mother) in their classroom.  Babies readily show their emotions, & few people are inclined to be mean to a baby, so this is a simple & effective way of teaching “emotional literacy.”  The idea is to show vulnerability, followed by ways to see & reduce aggression & bullying.  Pam is hoping funds will soon be made available to train more instructors in this program, so it may be offered to more children.  She believes this is an effective way to combat high & increasing levels of anxiety.  Dave Weatherill suggested many adults, including corporate & political leaders, could benefit from this training.  Pam replied that scarce resources are thought best to be applied to our future leaders.
BC Hydro’s Southern Interior Community Relations Officer, Dag Sharman, explained the crown corporation has 4m customers, 30 hydro-electric power plants, 79,000kms of transmission lines, & delivers 98.4% “clean” (non-fossil fuel) energy.  The Vernon plant is Hydro’s largest facility outside the Lower Mainland.  Major upgrades in the past couple of years include a new 85,000sf office building, & new shops.  Over 300 local employees work all over BC.  The Kalamalka Rd site includes one of three provincial control centres, a call centre, engineering & other staff involved in design, construction & maintenance of transmission & distribution assets.  Two new 500 megawatt generators were recently added at the Mica Dam, & plans call for addition of a sixth similar generator at the Revelstoke dam by 2026.  The West Kelowna Transmission project will add a secondary line to serve West Kelowna.  Hydro works with Emergency Management BC to manage power supplies through extreme weather events, & with provincial biologists to protect pesky ospreys building nests atop power poles! 
Dr Craig Goplen, our Queen Silver Star Excellence Program liaison, introduced our 2019 candidate, Madison Barrett.   A 15-year old Seaton French Immersion student, she’s keen on soccer, drama & riding (horses, we presume!).  Madison aspires to be a forensics specialist, & hopes to study at Simon Fraser University’s Criminology Faculty.
Member Volunteers Needed
Club Meetings
Host: Penny Trudel
Oct 22, 2019
Celine Grosch -- Queen Silver Star Excellence Program
Host: Martin von Holst
Oct 29, 2019
Host: Michael Wardlow
Nov 05, 2019
Richard Hamilton - Army Honorary Colonel
Club Business
Nov 12, 2019
Host: Dave Weatherill
Nov 19, 2019
Father/Daughter Ball 2019