Posted by Ramona Pleva

It was a beautiful sunny day with hints of spring on March 10, 2020, at the Rotary Club of Traverse City.

President Homer rang the meeting bell and after God Bless America and the Pledge of Allegiance, Sakura Takano shared a moment of Gratitude and Reflection that focused on Women’s International Day from March 8. 

Bob Stow got us all in the spirit for St. Patrick’s Day with When Irish Eyes are Smiling and Heidi Wendell introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.

Lindsey Dickinson, a visiting Rotarian who is active with Youth Exchange, wore her ”NMC hat” today while introducing our Outstanding Student of the Week Daniela Castilla. Daniela is dual enrolled in TC West and NMC. She’s a busy student active in theater, chorales, National Honor Society and has been described by one of her NMC professors as “a phenomenal student”. Daniela was born in Mexico, is bilingual and has worked her way through half an associate’s degree and hopes to have a double major in college. A book that has been most inspiring to her is Half the Sky which opened her eyes to issues that women experience throughout the world. 

Marsha Minervini introduced our newest Rotarian Autumn Haag. Autumn is an Oregon native and through her dream of becoming a flight attendant, she met her husband Chad. Chad is a pilot with Delta airlines and they moved to Traverse City in 2009. Autumn has two beautiful daughters and works as a realtor with Remax. 

Greg Luyt provided an update from Rotary Charities. The Al Arnold scholarship is an endowment that awards a scholarship to a local student attending the University of Michigan Law School. Joseph Kessling has been a three-year recipient of this scholarship. Al Arnold was instrumental in negotiating the mineral lease for the Rotary property which as we know turned out to be a very, very good thing!

Cate Grail is an outbound exchange student to Taiwan and announced that the outbound exchange students will be hosting their fundraising dinner on April 7. Tickets are $50 and you’ll be dining at the Boathouse. This is an amazing dinner and an awesome cause! Get your tickets soon because they sell out!

Ad Sales Super Hero Max Anderson needs us to wrap up our ad sales because this is the last week. We have plenty of room to add to our $75,000 and it just requires some of us to follow up with a phone call or two (or more) to help us get to our goal of $120,000! Remember, this is the reason we do a Rotary Show - to raise money for Good Works. 

Al Bonney presented another polio update. He gave a little history on polio stating that in 1979 the Philippines began a five-year partnership to provide polio vaccines. It wasn’t until 1988 that the worldwide vaccination effort began. As of right now, two countries still have active polio and there are only 17 cases of paralytic polio in the world. 

President Homer - in his loveable style - called for any and all women to join the Rotary Chorus. Seriously, it’s not too late to join! He says that while the chorus needs women, they will also accept men as well! Truth be told, Homer is having a blast being the chorus and wants everyone to have the same amount of fun that he is having. And the music is so much fun!

Rotary Show posters are now available!! Please pick them up at our meetings and let’s paper the town with them! Tickets for the show are also on sale and you’d better get them quick because Al Zelinski is selling them faster than sanitizing hand spray!

Paul LaPorte walked away with $73 from the 50/50!

Dan Buron introduced our speakers today: Wendy Hirshenberger GT Health Officer and Mike Lahey, Emergency Preparedness Director. They gave us as much of an update on COVID-19 as they could. Updates on the Coranovirus occur every four hours.

Pandemic: where a majority of the population has little to no immunity to a disease, spread human to human. We are currently not at a pandemic level with COVID-19 but the World Health Organization is keeping a close eye since we are on the verge of one. These types of diseases are difficult to predict. It is a “rapidly evolving situation”.

Here’s the skinny:

  1. The fatality rate is higher among women, not sure why

  2. 114,632 cases worldwide, 4,029 deaths, 64,046 patients have recovered

  3. 115 countries have reported cases

  4. 755 cases can be linked to two cruise ships

  5. Symptoms include: fever over 100.4 degrees F with either coughing or shortness of breath or both

Health Department:

  1. Engaged with phone/conference calls with MDHHS and CDC

  2. Monitor travelers

  3. Maintain contact with doctors and respiratory panel testing for COVID-19. The capacity for testing is limited but may be covered by insurance.

  4. We have no reported cases in Michigan

Individual protection:

  1. Wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap and water. 

  2. Hand sanitizers should be 60-95% alcohol

  3. Avoid sick people, stay at a six-foot distance

  4. Cover your mouth with coughing and sneezing (and then go wash your hands for 20 seconds!)

  5. Disinfect work and household areas with a bleach-based household cleaner


Mike spoke about personal protection equipment and non-pharmacological intervention:

  1. Face masks are only needed in high-risk circumstances, the CDC doesn’t recommend them.

  2. Self-quarantine if you’re not feeling well

  3. Community mitigation includes canceled events/schools

  4. Environmental mitigation: clean work surfaces, desks, phones, toys, school.

Some larger corporations are promoting telecommunicating, aka work from home. But the question remains, can you operate your business with half of your workforce down? Sick leave needs to be flexible and consistent with public health guidance. We are also seeing a decrease in the availability of sanitizing products so don’t be shaking hands. Do an elbow tap or tap someone’s ankle  - preferably without tripping them. 

Anyone who has travel plans should consult the CDC Traveler’s Health Notices. 

And with that, we were adjourned!