November 23, 2006

Rotary Foundation

November 21, 2006: Today's presentation by Richard Dowell, Mike Jones, Lou Mello and Robert Freer focused on the Rotary Foundation. Richard reported that in September the board made in two key decisions. They were to have 1/2 of the contributions to Rotary International return to the District in scholarships and grants and also approved the development of a contingency fund in the budget to cover unique situations that if any fund is not used it is contributed to the Rotary Foundation. Recent contributions included $500 to a Water Mission project and $1250 for a project in Brazil.

Lou Mello presented a Paul Harris Society Award to Kyra Morris and a Paul Harris Fellow Award to Johnny Stuhr. These two club members are excellent examples of those contributing to the Rotary Foundation and all aspects of Rotary.

Mike Jones made a presentation on the Family of Rotary Initiative which is a strong focus this year. It is a way to build relationships, grow the organization and improve overall image. It allows matching funds for gifts to the Foundation and also gives recognition to family members. Those who were not at the meeting or would like more information can learn about the program by going to at or contacting Carroll or Richard Dowell .

Robert Freer shared a unique view if value of foundation. He was introduced to Rotary in 1968 when he was asked to be part of a Group Study Exchange before he became a Rotary member. During this program in Germany he built a relationship that his lasted a lifetime. He and the attorney he stayed with have continued to be involved and are godfathers of each others' children. Without Rotary and this program would never have met.

Richard explained the Polio Plus program and its evolution to the Polio Plus Partners program. Rotary had significant involvement in the largest humanitarian effort of all time to inoculate 2 billion people in the polio. It was thought that polio was no longer a problem yet in 2004 there was another outbreak. With Polio Plus Partners, Rotary members and volunteers go into the areas affected and help inoculate the population.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

November 19, 2006

Election Politics: Trends and Realities

November 14, 2006: Dr. Debose Kapeluck, professor of political science at The Citadel reviewed the mid-term elections with a special emphasis on the national scene. The Democratic party made a strong showing to take control of the House with 230 members compared to 196 Republicans, a loss of 28 seats by the Republicans. In the Senate there is a 51 to 49 Democratic majority Among the governors of the nation there are now 28 Democrats to 22 Republicans, a Republican loss of 6. The Democrats also control 23 state legislatures, a gain of 5 states. However history tells us that the Democratic party has been the party in control most of the time since 1922. Recently the Republicans have been in control of the house since 1994. The Senate is more likely to shift between the parties.

Three broad factors tend to affect election changes: 1. Candidate Specifics, such as qualifications, being an incumbent, money available and the presence or absence of scandals. This time around there were a number of scandals and improprieties. 2. Party Specifics can affect one or the other party. This term events have included problems of corruption and ethics, the Iraq war [55% of the voters opposed to the war], and the economy. 3. The Election Cycle, which in this case was the fact that it was a mid-term, a time when the party in power almost always loses seats. Other issues include the fact that we as a nation are in a time of divided government. In this election year there were even members of the majority party speaking against the administration, such as Senators Hagel and McCain. Overall the election became a referendum on the president. There was a great deal of focus on individuals rather than issues, and the preponderance of negative advertising tends to suppress voter turnout.

Asked for a projection for 2008, Dr. Kapeluck stated that the Republicans will need to find a moderate candidate, and also seriously consider a woman vice president such as Condoleeza Rice, since he expects Hillary Clinton to take the Democratic party position.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

November 12, 2006

The Citadel: "Where we are and where we are going"

November 7, 2006: Today, Rotarians got a special treat from one of our own members who also happens to be the President of the Citadel where our meetings are hosted each week. In fact, Lieutenant General John Rosa joked that when the President speaks, we get a new sound system. (Applause...)

Lt. Gen. Rosa came to the Citadel from the Air Force Academy, where he said he and his wife had a 'tough three years' while trying to get that school on the right path. He likened the two schools to one another in their prestigious natures and changing faces (co-education, diversity), and said he was "proud" to be at the Citadel. After all, he was a 1973 graduate of the Citadel, so he has a vested interest in making it a better place.

He touted the schools most recent achievements, including its 2007 rankings by U.S. News and World Report as #2 Best Value in the South, and #7 Best Overall School. Rosa was also proud of the school's 4-year graduation rate of 55%, and the low fees relative to other schools in South Carolina (below SC average), despite the fact that the state only provides 18% of the school's funding. General Rosa also touched on the "areas of emphasis" he feels are critical to developing well-rounded students. These areas include a four-year leadership program, instilling values and respect, and student accountability. These areas are intended to mold what the school expects of its students because, as Rosa pointed out, the values and accountability are oftentimes not there when they arrive.

In addition to academics and student character, another important area of the General's focus is, of course, sports, and Rosa was quick to point out the improvements to the stadium, which will eventually have a facade similar to that of the Holliday Center directly across the street. The football team will also hopefully enjoy some stability with its newest coach, Kevin Higgins, who has also been a guest of our Club.

Because the Citadel is the Military College of South Carolina, one would assume that most of its graduates will naturally go into some sort of military duty. This has actually not been the case in recent times. For the academic year 2005-2006, only 36% of graduates entered the military upon graduation (which General Rosa identified as "artificially low"). He attributed this to the many opportunities that students have upon graduation. Although these percentages are down from when Rosa himself was at the Citadel, he claims that the school has the largest Army contract in the past 10 years.

General Rosa concluded his presentation with a tribute to the Alumni who have lost their lives in the name of duty, including a few recent (2005/2006) graduates. He asked us to support the school this weekend during Homecoming, which also falls on Veterans Day. The school plans to honor all WWII Veterans this weekend, and at last count estimated that 75 WWII Veterans would be in attendance.

If you are interested in showing your support for the Citadel and the Bulldogs, the game against Virginia Military Institute (VMI) begins at 2:00 at Johnson Hagood Stadium. For more information on other Homecoming activities, please visit

Reported by Amy Riley, Keyway Committee

November 5, 2006

Round Two: School Board Candidates Speak Their Minds

October 31, 2006: Elections are just one week away! Our Rotary members are still closer to being some of the most informed citizens in the county.

Eight Charleston county school board candidates from West Ashley and Charleston (downtown) visited us this week: Lurline Fishburne, Toya Green, Marian Mentavlos, Jo Anne Cannon, Sandi Engelman, Ann Oplinger, Ruth Jordan, and Kay Kernodle. In their brief introductions, the candidates told us why they are vying for a seat.

Toya Green (downtown) is a local attorney, and is married to one of our own Rotary Club of Charleston members. Green's level headed approach to problems includes focusing on the root of educational needs in young children. She also discussed the need for support as opposed to dissension from the board.

Lurline Fishburne (downtown) is also married to one of our own Rotarians. Fishburne is running with the "A" team which is composed of four candidates with common goals. She drew attention to the 150 years of business experience the team brings to the table, and how beneficial it would be to the system.

Marian Mentavlos (downtown) has 30 years of teaching experience, and masters and doctorate degrees in the educational field. She mentioned that the board will benefit greatly from having an educator on it. Mentavlos is comfortable working with individuals in the school system and wants to translate that into success for the whole district.

Sandi Engelman (WA) hopes to forgive past mistakes made in the district and move on to fix them. She has two children of her own, which is why she is driven to run for school board.
Engelman's children have been recipients of Rotary awards.

Jo Anne Cannon (downtown), also an educator, has taught at the middle school level much of her career. Cannon discussed our four-way test in relation to the school system.

Ann Oplinger (WA) is a retired principal and school teacher from the Charleston county schools. Both of her children were educated in Charleston public schools. Oplinger also taught in McClellanville for eight years.

Ruth Jordan (WA) mentioned the ideal of seeing all children treated equally. Jordan supports the Charleston plan for excellence, and would like to see more fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.

Kay Kernodle (WA) has been a substitute teacher, and is also a small business owner. She suggested focusing this election on the children and staying away from political influences.

Candidates also briefly responded to questions submitted by club members.

Reported by Jackie Gottfried, Keyway Committee