Most of the time, Rotary clubs learn about their community and the world while working to make them better. During the week of Aug. 3, the four local clubs had a chance to learn more about Rotary itself and what's happening in their fellow clubs in District 5470, which covers most of Colorado except the Denver Metro area and northeastern Colorado.One of a district governor's duties is making at least one visit during his or her year in office to every one of the district's clubs. Durango is a good destination for checking clubs off the list quickly, with the Rotary Club of Durango (meets Tuesday nights), Durango Daybreak Rotary Club (Wednesday mornings) and High Noon Rotary Club (Thursdays at noon).
So, Peter Jeschofnig from Glenwood Springs, who just stepped into the district governorship July 1, has gotten off to a quick start. He visited the Pine River Valley Centennial Club - Bayfield/Ignacio - the previous week. On Aug. 5, the three Durango clubs held a joint potluck to spend some social time with the Jeschofnig at the lovely Falls Creek home of Clyde and Paulette Church, where the view is among the best in the county. Clyde Church is the assistant governor for Southwest Colorado. Also attending the gathering were past District Gov. Jan Williams with her husband, Joe, of the Daybreak Club and District Gov. Nominee Roger Ptolemy, who will serve from 2011-2012.
Mark Prouty, the president of High Noon Rotary and Chris Lange, the president of Durango Daybreak, also enjoyed the camaraderie.
Jeschofnig is a pretty impressive man. Raised in Vienna, Austria, he traveled and worked in Europe and Africa as a young man. He said his most memorable experience was volunteering at Albert Schweitzer's hospital in Lambarene, Gabon.
After earning bachelor's and master's degrees at West Texas State and Southern Methodist universities, he began his career as a petroleum geologist, which led to assignments all over the globe.
When the oil industry declined in 1985, he reinvented himself by earning a master's degree in science education from Western State College in Gunnison and a doctorate from Colorado State University. For the next two decades, he taught environmental science, chemistry and physics at Colorado Mountain College at the Leadville and Glenwood Springs campuses in addition to being the chairman of the science department.
During that time, he received two Fulbright Professorships, one to Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and the other the University of Namibia in Windhoek.
His Rotary career is equally impressive. Jeschofnig joined the Sunrise Rotary Club in Glenwood in 1998, and in 11 short years has been his club's president and international director, worked on the district Youth Exchange committee as country coordinator for Germany and Austria, was an assistant governor from 2005 to 2007 and served as a delegate to India for the district.
His visit and the potluck were reminders of how the connections within Rotary make it much more powerful than the sum of its parts.
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Counting down to the first day of school for their birthdays (happily for the parents and with dismay by the students) are Don Southworth, Kevin Jones, Bonnie Rossmiller, Jonathan Wince, Beverly Brown, Diane Calfas, Al Calkins, Brady Choate, Sharon Jim, Pam Skjolsvik, Laura Prendergast, Jake Forsythe, Trevor Rymerson, Kim Johancen-Walt, Adria Ottman, Garrett Krispin, Isabel Bohachevsky, Courtney Peterson, Bill Foreman, Sheri Collins, Bob Emmanuel, John Patton, Raiana Ollier and Eileen Stastny.
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Shelly Hartney, who is passionate about the Girl Scouts, is reaching out for used uniforms and uniform accessories for girls who cannot afford to buy new ones. Sundays through the end of August, she will have a box where you can drop them off at the flea market at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. If your daughter has outgrown her uniform or is no longer in Girl Scouts, please consider donating what you have cluttering up the closet. Girl Scouts opens a door of opportunity to all girls, and as a community, I hope we can make it possible for all girls who so desire to belong.
And because 2012 is the centennial of the founding of Girl Scouts by Juliet "Daisy" Gordon Low, Hartney has already started collecting books and memorabilia for the big 100th anniversary celebration.
When I was clearing stuff out for my move, I found my sash with all my badges (clearly, sewing wasn't one of them, because more than one is attached via safety pin), a picture of my troop on an outing circa mid-1960s (there's no need to do the math) and the book my mother, Kathy Butler, used as co-troop leader with Shirley Spangsberg.
While I will definitely hang on to these mementos of a significant time in my life, I will be adding them to the bounty for the big party, a party that will stretch across the country. That's because after a small start with just 18 girls, Low's legacy is now 50-million-alumni strong. There are more than 3.4 million girls active in the organization, so it's still vital and growing.
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It's funny how quickly festival fatigue wears off after Music in the Mountains is over. Just two weeks ago, the final two concerts took place in the three-week-long, more than 40-performance season. I'm not alone in regretting that it will be 47 weeks or so until the 2010 Music in the Mountains.
After the final concert Aug. 3, it was time for the after-party for major donors and board members at George and Joan Spicer's magnificent digs overlooking Electra Lake. This year, Bob and Ann Mosier co-hosted the event. Sally Spicer Pearson, the hosts' daughter, her husband, Mike, and their son, Alex, all helped. Alex, now a teenager, has been directing the parking since he was just a little guy. Spicer son, Sam, was also around to lend a hand.
Norton's Catering did its usual bang-up job, serving sandwich makings of perfectly prepared beef tenderloin, roasted chicken and peppery turkey with condiments like my favorite red chili aioli and horseradish Dijon mayonnaise, tequila shrimp, artichoke-blue-crab dip, asparagus and gorgonzola cheese wrapped in puff pastry, chicken skewers in tomatillo sauce and herbed pork tenderloin crostini. Afters included brownies, pecan squares and a sumptuous chocolate fondue.
Everyone was happy to see Chuck Norton doing so well after a serious battle with a ruptured appendix, and he was clearly happy to be back and doing what he loves.
The evening is all about gratitude, or as Music in the Mountains Board President Florence "Foxie" Mason said in a number of ways, "Lucky us." Lucky musicians, lucky audiences, lucky volunteers.
Part of the party's tradition is to remember the three people who guided the efforts to make it such a memorable year. Artistic Director Greg Hustis was first up. His wide connections in the world of music and imaginative programming for the chamber concerts are a big part of the festival's success.
His gift set the tone for the gifts for all three key players, magnificent kachinas from Toh-Atin Gallery.
Music Director and Maestro Guillermo Figueroa finished his second season with a flourish. Because Music in the Mountains is a big family, including the audience, he said, it felt right to work with two members of his immediate family, wife, Valerie Turner, and sister Ivonne Figueroa.
Last, but far from least, was Conservatory of Music in the Mountains Director Arkady Fomin, who never loses his passion for teaching and bringing along new talent.
There are a lot of people who work hard on the festival, but probably no one gives more than Executive Director Susan Lander. She was honored with a lovely silver bead necklace.
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Strolling through the farmer's market picking up goodies for their anniversary dinners are Charles and Jean Reid, Lou and Jane Steele, John and Stella Welcher, John and Sally Folk, Robert and Ruth Wagner, Fred and Elizabeth Whitehurst, Jeff Huber and Tammi Bradshaw, Gary and Tina Trotter, Fred and Shirley Gale, Scott and Sue McClain, Charlie and Sherry Wilmoth, Paul and Marty Sheppard, Calvin and Kim Buffalo, Jeff and Dee Booton, Ted and Wilma Cooper, Dwight and Sharon McAnear, Kenyon and Paula Bunch, Nett and Bessie Stidham, and Steve and Lou Hudson.
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