This Week at Rotary
We Meet at Noon
In Person – With Box Lunch - RSVP
(Three Persons per Table)
- OR -
By Zoom 
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Holiday Inn and Suites - Downtown Duluth
Rolf Weberg
Executive Director
Natural Resource Research Institute
The Economy of the Future
The Natural Resource Research Institute (NRRI) is a unique applied research unit with a mission to deliver integrated solutions for a resilient future. The Institute works to understand Minnesota’s resources and drive projects from the research bench to demonstration scale.  Rolf Weberg will describe the inner workings of NRRI and the current projects creating exciting opportunities for Minnesota.
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Darlene Anderson
The conversations were many with the key topic being the early arrival of winter. Fellowship ended with the ringing of the Rotary bell as President Dean Casperson welcomed Rotarians and guests. Past President Mike Orman reflected on our tour of the Federal Prison Camp last year and how Rotarians can encourage the men upon their release to volunteer in their communities.
Jeff Iisakka “Kicked the Golden Can” to honor two fellow Rotarians for their above and beyond Rose Sale service:  Gary Melander for all his decades of hard work and Dave Fulda for buying the 17 dozen roses left at the end of distribution.  Past President Bill Gravelle announced Barb Perrella as the newest board member of the Depot Foundation.
And with her name mentioned, Barb Perrella took the podium to thank all who had participated in this year's Rose Sale.  A special thanks to Jennifer Smith and Elaine Hansen for keeping track of both in person and online sales. This year we sold 1,500 dozen roses.  A great success considering COVID. For those who still wish to make a tax deductible donation of $10 per dozen, (which represents the profit on each sale) they can send a check made payable to the Rotary Club of Duluth Foundation.
Rose Sale Chair Barb Perrella announcing the completion of a Successful Sale
President Dean announced the passing of David Rutford. Dave helped build the original and replacement medical clinic on the Amazon River.  Next week Jon Helstrom will give the eulogy.
It was a year ago when Rotarians toured the Duluth Federal Prison Camp. Today Chair of the Day Zach Walters introduced Warden Bryan Birkholz. Bryan began by sharing his family connections to Rotary and how he was interested in the tradition of our Rotary Club to “Kick the Golden Can” at which point he made his own donation. COVID-19 brought many challenges to the minimum security facility. One of the most notable was a decrease in the inmate population from 498 in 2019 to 296 today. To adjust for pandemic safety protocols, steps were taken to reduce the population. Those inmates that had served at least 50% of their sentence and met certain other strict criteria were released to supervised home confinement. That made room to house the remaining men at the facility consistent with CDC Guidelines. Further the Camp instituted staff screening, a no visitors policy, strict cleaning protocols, a mask requirement, and created designated isolation spaces, all with the goal to keep both inmates and staff safe.  Because of COVID-19, Community Service Programs were suspended.  Once the pandemic has passed it is hoped programs such as assisting of setup at Bentleyville can be reinstated along with educational and mentorship programs.  Volunteers are needed as mentors and especially needed are those with vocational skills. As Warden Birkholz completed taking questions, President Dean Casperson stated perhaps this will be an area for Rotarians to explore as an opportunity for “Service Above Self”.
Warden Bryan Birkholz and President Dean Casperson