Posted by Erin Maile O'Keefe on Jul 19, 2017

Rotary Notes 7/19/2017

Empress Pong residing

This Day in History:

  • 1848 First US Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, NY
  • 1860 First railroad reaches Kansas
  • 1957 First rocket with a nuclear warhead was fired in Yucca Flat Nevada
  • 1961 First inflight movie was shown

Quote of the day:

“All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears—of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters the dark, or speaking before a Rotary Club, and of the words “Some Assembly Required.” —Dave Barry


Cindy shined brightly as our greeter this morning. Next week Bethany will be our greeter.


  • Guest speakers: Alex & Jerelyn Wilson
  • John Seacrest’s clan: Kerry, Alina and Aleksa
  • Soon to be new member: Staci Leffel
  • The always fabulous: Bethany Martin


Lissa was serenaded by our brilliant rotary choir and Debra is celebrating hers in the lavender fields of France.


Jack of Spades… in the deck… “You lose you you losers”

Club Announcements:

  1. Sadie—Sadie is our Community Service Chair. The committee focuses on all of our community projects. Anyone can bring volunteer and community service opportunities to the committee. They have been tracking volunteer hours by project. Michelle had new idea for the club… pass around a list weekly and log your weekly hours of Rotary community service so we can capture personal and total club hours. This will begin next week, I believe. Look for it at the check-in table.
  2. Jim Versino—The Club Visioning Process is coming up. It’s a 4-hour event where district facilitators help our club examine and create our current vision. It’ll be a Wednesday evening. At least 15 members need to be attendance. We will come away with guiding principles that will help guide us with future projects. Participation is encouraged. Stay tune for possible dates.
  3. Allie—Please sign cards for Sandy Ladd who will be away caring for her sister who has had a very serious accident, and for Amelia Farnum who is taking a leave of absence to support her family business.
  4. Tristan—Has been on a few visioning processes, and enjoyed the process of the guided focusing. Has see some powerful visions coming out of the process that continue to lead clubs. 
  5. Tristan—Coffee shop is open! Club agreed to another $1000 scholarship. It’s making a big difference in a really bright kid’s life.
  6. Damon—Getting the Interact Program off the ground at BUHS. This is a great way to get your volunteer hours.
  7. Lissa—There are 10 students that want to come to BUHS next year from Thailand, China, France, and Spain. They offer so much to our community. Looking for home placements. These homes are necessary so that these student can come.
  8. Jen—Glasses left on table last week.


  1. Sandy—See Mother Courage with Jim on Saturday and dinner before at his house. 166 Oak Grove Ave.
  2. Cindy—TED Talk “Everyday Leaders” … recommends we watch. Will email.
  3. Valerie—Daughter Lauren is a second lieutenant in the Navy stationed in Lithuania. Son, Ian was just promoted at Uber. Val was in Chicago for a week for an Insurance Legislators Conference. Went on a boat tour and highly recommends it. Val will be at a conference Friday on renewable energy in Vermont. She’s working on new legislation about new jobs in renewable energy.
  4. Turner—Thanks for coming to the party! Thanks Damon for the GREAT job he did last year! The day after party, he and Kaye left for Michigan had great time with Kaye’s Family. Then went to a Blue Grass Festival.
  5. John Seacrest—His family did another home exchange. This time with no burning casualties. They went to Spain their home for a house at beach in Valencia and a house in the mountains. Loved it! And visited Barcelona!
  6. Kevin—“First dollar for all of you.” He missed the camaraderie and friendships. It’s been 3 weeks since he’s been at Rotary. So glad to be back. He now has a cane. Beware. Second dollar for his son who flew in to see his gramma battling cancer. Good to see him. “Having family close is the most important thing… Sarah, Eric and the rest of the family.”
  7. Lissa—Dollar for Jen Austin DBA (Downtown Brattleboro Alliance) who got the initial grant for the M.I.L.E.S. Project (Mobile Interactive Literary Exhibition Space). Dollar for our own Erin. She designed the mobile exhibition space on an 18-foot trailer. The initial build of M.I.L.E.S. will be featured as a live demo Tiny House Fest Vermont on Sunday, September 3rd in Downtown Brattleboro.


Alex Wilson

“The Magic of Bhutan”

Slide show by Alex & Jerelyn Wilson


  • Bhutan between China and India
  • 1.5 the size of Vermont
  • 750,000 population
  • Used to be hard to visit, no anymore
  • Never a colony
  • Winter’s are cold. Tall mountains. Mountains are sacred and not allowed to be climbed.
  • They are on their 5th King
  • Very few cars
  • no coal and oil combustion
  • lots of trees
  • wood heat in country sides
  • electric resistance heat in cities
  • Controlled tourism— Limits tourist influence
  • Buddhist culture
  • $250 per day includes food, lodging, driver
  • You are a guest of their country
  • Just introduced TV 15 years ago
  • Has wifi now


Only 20 pilots certified to land in Paro. Very difficult to land between Himalayas. Exciting flight weaving in and out of mountains! Greeted by unique airport terminal of Bhutanese design.


  • Capital of Bhutan
  • Population 100,00
  • Elevation of about 8,000 feet
  • 60% of the nation’s vehicles
  • Extensive new construction
  • Dogs everywhere and cared for
  • No road kill
  • The only traffic light was replaced by a kiosk and human directing traffic
  • Strict architectural standards
  • Bamboo scaffolding
  • Most Bhutanese wear traditional dress (go and kiras)


  • Gross National Happiness as a metric of well being—rather than GDP 
  • GNH index was created by K4 (4th King) 15 years ago (Institutes around the world and in Vermont studying this now)
  • The first country with a goal of becoming carbon-neutral—achieved that goal in 2009
  • Emits just 0.8 metric tonnes of carbon per person per year (World Bank data) versus 20 metric tonnes per person per year in the USA
  • The only country that is a carbon sink (1.5 million tonnes per year emitted and 6 million tonnes per year absorbed)
  • First Country with the goal to transition to 100% organic agriculture—by 2020
  • Set aside 51% of land area as parks and preserves
  • Working to connect protected areas with wildlife corridors
  • Constitution calls for at least 60% of land area to be forested
  • Goal of zero-waste by 2030; nationwide ban on plastic bags

Alex and Jerelyn were in Bhutan for the Second International Conference on Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development and Design.

Facts about Bhutanese buildings:

  • no insulation
  • no double paned windows
  • perfect climate for passive solar
  • Strong architectural guidelines
  • Hip roofs with overhangs
  • detailed “dental work” wood detailing
  • Guidelines are flexible and honor change with respect for traditional

Visit to the JSW Law School in Paro. First project in Bhutan that will have insulation (mineral wool), hard hats, fall protection. Solar water heating.

Visit to Dzong, a temple fortress, where they saw amazing woodwork, festival celebration, dancing.

Visit to Punakha, where they saw agriculture, organic practices, terracing.


Thank you!