Page Stories

At the noon hour on June 11, President Heidi Fisher opened the meeting. She began by thanking the meeting volunteers: Greeters John Chandler, scribe Valdi Stefanson, Inspirational Minute/ 4-way test Ellen Kennedy, and visiting Rotarians/guests/happy dollars Susan Rostkoski. Also, a special Thank-You to the technical team of Andrew Vincelli, and Matt Magers.

Sherry Howe came forward to deliver a tribute to past member Charles (Chuck) Field. Chuck passed in November 2023. He was the club 10 President in the 1987-88 Rotary year. Chuck was known as an excellent and enthusiastic singer and a fast golfer. Chuck was employed at Payne Weber/UBS, retiring as its Vice President.

Next up was Ellen Kennedy whose inspirational minute, referenced two philosophers – Yogi Berra and John Lennon. The message is that although we may plan for tomorrow, live for today using the Rotary 4-way test as your guide.

Rob Mairs introduced today’s speaker, Scott Burns. Rob is actually Scott’s boss as President and CCO of Mairs and Power. Rob noted Scott’s expertise and success as a venture-stage analyst.

When Scott Burns came to the podium, he spoke of two objectives with us Rotarians. First, a read on the downtown situation and promise of an initiative called “Investing in a Vibrant St Paul”. Scott is a Duluth boy, but saw potential and promise in St Paul. Decades later, he is still a St Paul Champion. He spoke of St Paul plusses and minuses. He referenced Osborn370, an exciting development with style and vibe.

The Downtown Alliance is laser focused on smart and aggressive growth, with both government and private capital. Three key initiatives are Office to Residential Conversion; Public Realm Enhancement; and Pre-Development of exciting projects like the Wild’s “Entertainment District” concept.

How can Rotarians contribute to a healthy and vibrant St Paul? - spread good news faster than bad news. – volunteer. – push your legislator to invest in downtown St Paul. – look for opportunities to invest and grow local businesses.

Next, Scott shifted gears and talked of his gig as Vice-President at Mairs & Power, specializing in high-potential early-stage ventures. Scott explained that an upper Midwest focus allows tight analysis. He provided two new venture examples: BetterYou is a mobile companion related to healthy habits and workplace stress. Another is 4MATIV, which specializes in efficiency in school transportation (bussing).

Carolyn Will stepped up with her great experience in a segment of “What you don’t know about me”. Some thirty-five years ago, Duluthian Carolyn joined other educators to create a “global network” of international schools. It was 1989 and Carolyn joined others on a worldwide journey. She witnessed a tear-gassed demonstration in Soul, Korea; citizen demonstrations in pre-handover Hong Kong; the war buildup in Yugoslavia, and the abject poverty in East Berlin just before the wall came down.

Susan Rostkoski presided over many Happy Dollar participants. Thereafter, Heidi rang the Rotary bell to dismiss the meeting..

NEXT UP: Details at our website:

  • 5:01 Meeting: June 18th 5:01 PM - 6:15 PM
    Jeff Molby --- Chemo Riders
  • Board of Directors Meeting: June 19th 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    Keys Cafe
  • Lunch Meeting: June 25th 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
    Changing of the Guard

Host families needed --- June 29-30 & July 21-23

Respectfully submitted,

Valdi Stefanson

At the noon hour on May 28, President Heidi Fisher opened the meeting. She began by thanking the meeting volunteers: Greeters Sherry Howe & Susan Rostkoski, scribe Valdi Stefanson, and visiting Rotarians/guests/happy dollars John Kupris. Also, a special Thank-You for a solo stint with technical services to Ken Crabb.

Peter Grayson provided the inspirational minute, which referenced Memorial Day. Peter referred to a poet who wrote of everyday people who made a difference. Don’t underestimate yourself and live by your principles. Others will notice and you will make a positive mark in this world.

President Heidi then introduced today’s speaker; Law Professor David Schultz. David Schultz is a political science professor at Hamline University and a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law. He is a national expert on election law, professional ethics and state constitutional law. Everyday Minnesotans know him as a national expert on election trends. Each election cycle, he appears in print and broadcast media with election predictions (before) and trends shown (after).

Today, he spoke of the upcoming November Presidential election. It is heading towards another close political race, with the electoral tally as the key factor (and not the popular vote totals). Be aware that polls now show a near-dead heat – certainly within the pollster's margin of error.

Indeed, it looks like results will hinge on key demographics in critical key swing states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Moreover, it may well come down to some key precincts and demographics within these states. Recall a previous election when suburban housewives were determined to be the deciding factor.

2024 unknowns include (1) the trial of Donald Trump, (2) the health of the two primary candidates between now and election day, (3) the impact of AI in campaigning

After Dr Schultz spoke, there were plenty of interesting questions from club 10 Rotarians. Indeed, President Heidi postponed Happy Dollars and Rotary Fast Facts with respect for the clock


NEXT UP: Details at our website:

· Planting in Cleveland Circle --- Tuesday May 28th 4:00 PM

· Grand Ole Days ticket sales --- Sunday, June 2, 2024 afternoon hours

· Celebrate the St Paul Foundation --- Tuesday June 4th, 5:01 PM at Camp Bar

· Signature lunch --- Tuesday June 11th noon

(Scott Burns – Investing in a Bright Future for St. Paul)


Last: HOST FAMILIES ARE NEEDED – June 29-30 & July 21-23


Respectfully submitted,

Valdi Stefanson

President Heidi Fisher called our May 21st 501 Meeting to order at 5:20 pm.

She thanked our meeting volunteers which included Dave Dominick, scribe; Jim Hart, greeter; Brianna Haglin introduced guests and collected happy dollars; Heather Britt provided the inspirational minute and 4-way Test; and our tech crew of Matt Magers, Michael-jon Pease, and Chad Roberts.

Guests included PDG Ken Crabb’s brother in-law David from Arizona and our outbound youth exchange student Amelia Martin and her parents.

Heather Britt provided an inspirational moment and led us in the 4-Way Test.

Linda Mulhern introduced Amelia to the club membership.  She is going to Nagasaki Japan to study aboard.

Susan Rostkoski introduced our program speaker Steve Yoch, author and lawyer.  He has authored two books Becoming George Washington and Becoming Benedict Arnold.  He is working on a third book as well.

Steve’s presentation focused on comparing George Washington to Benedict Arnold.  Both men were Generals.  Benedict was known as the best general and greatest traitor.  Washington was known as the greatest leader.  A very interesting program provided by Steve.

Happy Dollars were flowing pretty well.

President Heidi reviewed upcoming meeting and events.

For a very rainy and stormy night, there were many happy Rotarians inside the University Club having FUN and Fellowship.

Rotary Meeting May 14, 2024

Past-president Dave Dominick called the meeting to order at the Intercontinental, as President Heidi Fisher was at home and under the weather.

John Chandler and Dave Hart were the friendly faces at the doorway for all, and Michael Jon Pease shared a thought for the day and the Four-way Test. Matt Magers and Ken Crabb ran the technology for the virtual attendees.

John Chandler also introduced four guests – one of whom is a prospective member. Another has a new riverboat docked nearby, with a music education focus. Another is an applicant for the Rotary Peace Fellowship and wanted to meet us.

Susan Rostkoski introduced the speakers, one of whom was already well known!

Nancy Brady and Susan also know each other very well through their past work at Neighborhood House; Susan was the development director and worked with Nancy on the capital funding and construction of the current facility. Nancy has been President and CEO since 2014 and will be retiring this summer after nearly 35 years in not-for-profit leadership roles.

Nick Contreraz, on the other hand, is relatively new at Neighborhood House, in his current position as Vice President of Programs.

Both Nick and Nancy spoke about the Wellstone Center and Neighborhood House programs, which come in a wide variety of forms for a wide variety of clients, customers, stakeholders, and communities. Of the core group of about 15,000 participants, 80% are in extreme poverty, and one-third are households that do not speak English.

Nearly 90% of those who benefit from the programs are people of color, and much of the work does focus on food and housing – even in coordination with the Housing Court. Other programs revolve around educational literacy, new parents, and early childhood development (including daycare programs and preschool), and home visits to help with early childhood and adapting to American Society.

Youth literacy is based in programming for school-age children. Licensed teachers work with small groups, and there are also partnerships with schools in the east side of St. Paul. There is a lending library onsite, and many of the books have protagonists that look like or come from backgrounds like community children.

Homework assistance and summer programming are to prepare children for school in the fall. All programs are free. Adult education focused on immigrants and preparing them for work and citizenship applications, as well as driver’s ed, earning a GED, using technology, and more.

The evenings are the busiest times, and the immigration law center also maintains hours onsite. It is also an event venue for tens of thousands of visitors a year.

Nancy received lots of kudos for her career and work to care for the whole community, as well as Happy Dollars in her honor as she prepares to retire in June.

The “what you don’t know about me” was shared by Tamara Sparrow – it turns out she taught belly dancing for many years, and she spoke about the origins of the art, teaching women about which muscle groups were involved in giving birth.

John Andrews, Scribe.

Rotary Club of Saint Paul

May 7, 2024

President Heidi Fisher called the hybrid meeting to order at 5:12 pm. Lynne Beck was scribe. The greeter was Shelly Rucks. The A/V Teach Team was Matt Magers and Ken Crabb.

Heidi Fischer led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance.

For the Inspirational Minute, Carolyn Will talked about the problem of guns, gangs and fights. She read a story from Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. He runs Homeland Industries, a nationally recognized gang intervention program. She then led the club in the 4-WayTest.

Dick Nicholson introduced guests of Shelly Rucks: Carol Willkie, the University of St. Thomas; and Marianne Kipp, CCI Properties.

Shelly introduced the speaker, Myra Marofsky, author of the book To the Last Dance: A Partner’s Story of Living and Loving through Dementia. She has spent 20 years supporting women in various careers. Shelly met her through the Neuroscience Center at Regions Hospital.

Myra wrote the book based on her experiences as a care partner for her real estate attorney husband Larry who had early onset Alzheimer’s. She said one out of 3 people know someone experiencing dementia. The situation is growing – both people who have dementia and care givers. The book is about her story. Her strategy includes two questions:

  • How do I want to feel every day?
  • How do I want to feel in the end?

She wanted to make sure her husband was active, doing what he loved. He helped others by doing simple legal tasks and volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland. She also mentioned people that were heart warmers. In her words, it’s more about care living than care caregiving.

Dick Nicholson asked for Happy Dollars from everyone at the meeting. Some were Ken Crabb who said that the district membership has increased by 36. Ken Schaefer is happy that the Timberwolves have a 10-2 record for the playoffs and the Twins are doing so well recently. Dayle Quigley was happy that she was able to jump out of an airplane.

Dick Nicholson won Rotary Fast Facts – When did Rotary International adopt DEI policies?


Heidi Fisher made the following club announcements:


May 10, 2024

Science Museum Service Project

Science Museum of Minnesota

10:00 am- 2:00 pm


Signature Lunch: May 14, 2024

12:15-1:15 pm

InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront or online via zoom

Nancy Brady – Neighborhood House


501: May 21, 2024

University Club or via zoom

5:01-6:15 pm

Stephen Yoch: Becoming George Washington


May 28, 2024


Planting Cleveland Circle

4:00 pm


June 2, 2024


Grand Ole Days


501: June 4, 2024


Foundation and Club Celebration


The meeting was adjourned at 6:14 pm.

Lynne Beck


St Paul Rotary Club – Signature Lunch meeting



President Heidi introduced meeting volunteers and highlighted the recent RYLA meeting, noting the hygiene kits assembled by campers.

Inspirational Minute – Michael-jon Pease assisted by Christopher Taykalo – noted it is international Jazz day and followed with several jazz-related quotes. We then recited the 4-way test.

Past president, Al Zdrazil, introduced guests of Rotarians. No Rotarians visiting from other clubs today.

Pat Brault introduced our speaker – Sarah Harry (her husband, Paul, also attended). Licensed Therapist with Courage and Grace Counseling.

Mental Health and the LGBTQ+ community. Educated at Bethel University and UW Stout. Specializes in gender and sexuality.

Sarah’s belief – knowledge, understanding, and accepting someone’s gender and sexuality is a form of preventative care.

Sarah supports the Trevor Project – LGBTQ advocacy group. Focused on people age 13-24. Conducts a national survey (28,000 surveyed).

· 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in 2023

· 67% reported anxiety

· 54% reported experiencing symptoms of depression

· 81% wanted mental healthcare

· 56% did not/were not able to access mental healthcare

· 24% reported being threatened or physically harmed due to their sexual orientation or gender (Susan addressed topics that would be helpful)

What can we do? Allyship, Advocacy and Affirming the LGBTQIA+ community

Developing sexual/gender identity is a process.

Affirming spaces:

· Home – 38%

· School – 54%

· Community Events – 16%

· Online – 68%

Use of pronouns – and impact (is a significant factor – including in suicide)

The Courage & Grace Foundation – introduced by Sarah. At the beginning stages – goal is to build a home to provide a safe and comforting environment for clients.



Steve Young – cited several recent research studies noting the decline of several aspects of American life – leading to dysphoria

Sarah – currently over 400 bills pending across state legislatures that are anti-LGBTQIA+

Matt Magers – what can we do as individuals to help this situation? Sarah – show the in visible ways you are a supporter and ally. Listen to their music, show the symbols, support LGBTQIA+ businesses/organizations. Be a learner.

President Heidi presented Sarah with a certificate noting our Club’s donation to Cherish All Children in her honor as a speaker today.

Announcements: Linda Mulhern– looking for hosts for 1 night – late June – for incoming international exchange students (total of 22); Youth Exchange Camp – July 21-23 hosting (12 kids – 2 per host household). Just need to provide food, bed and some transportation.


Happy Dollars

Michael-jon Pease – offered to meet with anyone with questions on today’s topic

Jason DeKuister – thanked all who volunteered at RYLA

Several others shared Happy Dollars.


Upcoming Important dates were shared (see the Club Website for more information).


Respectfully submitted,

Bo Aylin

Club Treasurer

Notes from April 23, 2024 Meeting

Jason called the meeting to order at 12:20 and thanked everyone involved in planning the meeting, volunteering during the meeting.

Ava Hofstetter RYLA participant from White Bear Lake Rotary sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and received lots of applause.

Kamail Akram, RYLA participant from Buffalo Rotary gave an inspirational minutes focused on a deep dive into truth – emotional and factual

Kylie Winkler, RYLA participant from Rogers Rotary and Barbara Whitehorn, RYLA participant form Rochester Rotary led us through the Four Way Test

Brianna Haglin and RYLA participant Max Nelson Asked a variety of groups of visiting Rotarians and guests to stand for applause including family and friends of RYLA participants and RYLA Adult Leaders and also recognized our District Governor Patricia McCleese

Brianna Haglin thanked Pete Grayson the District RYLA chair, parents & guests of campers, and Past camp directors. Then she led the introduction of speakers from each group of RYLA Student Speakers, thanking the adult leaders and junior counselors for each group.

The first speaker was max Nelson from Rochester Rotary representing the Red Group. H shared comments from each of the members of the group about how making friends at Camp RYLA is different than making friends at home.

Kumail Akram, Buffalo Rotary represent the Orange Group and shared a story from camp about trying to persuade his group to his point of view only to learn the value of inquiry, listening and the value of considering all perspectives.

Barbara Whitehorn, River Falls Rotary represented the Yellow Group. Anika spoke about the journey from extreme reluctance to deep gratitude for the excellent leadership experience and the resulting long-term relationships.

Kylie Winkler, Owatonna Rotary represented the Green Gorup and spoke about how her group adapted to her special circumstances to create inclusion. She also spoke on the impact of quality communication and her new understanding of goals.

Dee Didumu, Owatonna Rotary represented the Green Group and spoke on learning to ask for help, work as team to develop solutions and how RYLA is a confidence builder.

Three Junior Counselors, Anika Hovland, River Falls Rotary, Ellyn Gargulak, Rice Lake Rotary, Jane Whitcomb Fossom, Lake Elmo Rotary, spoke about their experiences, encouraged this year’s campers to consider being a junior counselor next year and concluded with a very inspiring message.

After these student speakers, Brianna recognized Jason and Tyler Petter-McCauley for all they have done for her as camp director and in particular for Tyler’s support of the Junior Counselors.

Jason returned to the podium to conclude the meeting with promotions for the Science Museum event on May 10th, and the next week’s luncheon. He invited members of Apple Valley Rotary to promote upcoming events and raffle.

Jason closed the meeting at 1:20

On the evening of Tuesday April 16th, 106 Rotarians and guests gathered in person (plus an extra 16 online!) to discuss how we can maintain relationships and focus on our shared humanity in these very divisive times we are living in.  The evening included a presentation as well as break-out groups where individuals were able to discuss and share their thoughts.  All participants can look forward to receiving a recording of the evening in the near future!


501 Minutes

President Heidi Fisher called our 501 meeting to order and thanked our meeting volunteers for their excellent support.

Past President Michael-jon Pease provided an inspirational minute centered around peace.  Susan Rostkoski welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests.

Past District Governor Ken Crabb introduced our program speakers St. Paul Rotarian Tony Conn and Northfield Rotarian Yogi Reppman.  The program was titled “the Peace Pipe Letters”, an informative and inspiring presentation about Rotary letters sent out in 1931 by WJ Fulton.  Over 500 letters were type written by him to Rotary Clubs around the world.  There was a 40% response rate with letters coming from Rotary Founder Paul Harris.

In 2016, Tony Conn discovered the Peace Pipe Letters in a vault where they were stored.  With this discovery, Tony and Yogi published a book in 2019; created a 501c3 organization; presented their Peace Pipe Letters program at the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg Germany.  Their story has been published in three Rotary magazines in Germany, South Africa and Austria/New Zealand.  They have organized a Peace Conference as well.  An incredible historical Rotary story was shared to our Club.

Following the program, President Heidi shared ROTARY FAST FACTS.  Which three US Presidents were Rotarians.  Three mentioned included President George Bush, President Jimmy Carter, and President Harry S. Truman.  Brianna Vujovich was the winner of the contest.

There was plenty of Happy Dollars flowing through the group celebrating our program speakers, a Rotarian’s son getting engaged and Rotarians having an enjoyable Easter.

Upcoming Events included Rotation Day on April 9 at Regions; Rotary Community Forum on April 16th; RYLA being held from April 19-23; RYLA Luncheon with members on April 23 and our Club Foundation Celebration being organized for June 4th at Camp Bar.

It was a great night to be a St. Paul Rotarian.

Dave Dominick, Scribe.

.President Heidi Fisher called the meeting to order at 12:15 just as the spring snow storm was beginning to abate.

Thank you to greeters Pat Brault and Laura Nichols-Endres.
Susan Rostkoski shared an inspirational minute and led the club in the Four Way Test. 
District Governor Nominee Designate Michael-jon Pease introduced guests. Rotarian Rob Mairs, Mairs and Power, introduced today's speaker, David Beal, the author of Mairs & Power at 90, a Ramsey County Historical Society book published in November 2021 about the saga of this unusually enduring and successful St. Paul investment firm. Beale was the executive business editor at the Pioneer Press in the 1980s and a business/financial columnist there from 1982 until 2006. Since then, he has done free-lance writing and special projects and was the treasurer of the Minnesota Committee on Foreign Relations from 2009 until last year. Before coming to the Twin Cities in 1981, he was the business editor at the Milwaukee Journal and earlier worked for newspapers in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and New York. He is a past president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
Program: David Beal, Mairs and Power at 90
Mr. Beal started off his program by saying that as a journalist, he loves what this project offered - "stumbling on a good story that no one else knows about." Mairs and Power is the oldest independent investment firm in the state. They have successfully made the transition from family ownership to employee ownership, which is one of the reasons for their success.
The book cover showcases the three important Georges who figure in the company's history: George Mairs, Jr, George Powers, and George Mairs III. Beal mentioned that the name "George" appears in the book more than 600 times! Keeping the family trees straight was a constant challenge.
George Mairs III was known as a super stock picker. His 58 year career and winning picks earned the company a national reputation. Personally, he was a frugal guy who lived modestly and insisted that when the bank deposits were made, all the company-owned paper clips used to sort the money and checks must come back to the office.
Mairs and Power was founded in 1931 during the  Great Depression. FORTUNE magazine wrote an article on the Twin Cities that year calling Saint Paul "virtually dead" and Minneapolis "deeply unsettled." The article was sos bad, Saint Paul businesses got together to boycott the magazine. 
By 1976 (another time when business across the nation was struggling), FORTUNE did an about face, writing that Saint Paul's per capita income was ahead of both the state and the nation. By then Saint Paul was home to an impressive array of Fortune 500 companies.
Between George III's great stock picks and the shrewd recruitment of key talent from failing institutions like First Trust, Mairs and Power thrived while other independents were taken over or closed shop. While it has moved from Midwest only stocks to a national mix that includes Alphabet and Google, the Mairs and Power Growth Fund is a leading growth vehicle. 
The club will learn more about the firm's new Venture Capital initiative at a June lunch meeting, so watch the club calendar and the Hub for more details!
Mairs and Power generously provided complimentary copies of Mairs and Power at 90 to all who were in attendance at the meeting (see what you miss when you stay home?)
Michael-jon Pease collected a tidy sum in Happy Dollars from Doug Bruce (in honor of the recently deceased Mairs and Power leader Jon Theobald), Doug Hartford (four photos accepted into exhibitions), Steve Young and Michael-jon himself (Mairs and Powers investment in Pedro Park, Mark Henneman's leadership of the St Paul Foundation investment team and Christopher Taykalo's hard work on a $32M EPA grant for the City of Omaha and his upcoming run in the musical Urinetown at Lakeshore Players).
Saint Paul Rotary Foundation update
SPRF President John Chandler gave an update on the foundation, including a heads up that teams for the St Croix River Dunk will be forming this fall. 
He also gave an overview of the Second Century Society for those who have included Saint Paul Rotary Foundation in their estate plans. The club has 49 members on the rolls, but all are welcome. Confirmation letters are going out to those who've indicated membership in the past.
Rotary Fast Facts
President Heidi then led the Rotary Fast Facts game with a question about how much the Rotary International Foundation has invested in Rotary service since its inception. Joel Theisen won the tote bag with the answer of $3 BILLION. 
upcoming Events:
With that, President Heidi adjourned the meeting with five minutes to spare.
Respectfully submitted,
Michael-jon Pease
Past President, District 5960 Governor Nominee Designate