This Week at Rotary
 
We Meet at Noon on Thursday
April 15, 2021
IN PERSON at the HOLIDAY CENTER
(Also Via Zoom)
 
For Those Attending in Person
Plated Meal Served
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
(Link Sent Thursday Morning)
 
At Large Councilor Zack Filipovich
 
Service on the Duluth City Council
The Work behind the Camera
The former City Council President will shed insight on how local government decisions are made.  Zack Filipovich will answer the question: “how do things get done?”  Being the youngest councilor ever elected, he will share his story of how he became interested in politics and what being on the Duluth City Council is like.
 
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By:  Al Makynen
 
With more members having received their vaccine, those able and willing to attend in person have grown.  We were 30 members strong with more on Zoom.  Fellowship has made a comeback! President Dean Casperson sported a wide grin as he rang the bell and then lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Rotary Four-Way Test.  The Rotary Reflection was by Past Assistant Governor Al Makynen.  The Club had sent him while President-Elect twelve time zones away to the Rotary International Convention in Bangkok.  Traveling that distance was a life-changing experience.  The program today will explore a far distant Pacific archipelago but still a part of the United States.  So everyone was admonished to pay attention!
 
The group seems to be a bit shy or perhaps still waiting to receive their stimulus checks.  For whatever reason, no fines, personal or work zone, flowed into Golden Can!  Still, the Club has managed to raise funds and Jim Schwartz, representing the Grants Committee, called up our guest Patra Sevastiades from the Duluth Public Library Foundation to receive a $1,500 grant in support of the “Every Child Ready” program.  This bold new initiative is designed to make sure every child in Duluth is ready to start school.  To do that the program works to support parents in their role as the first and most important teacher in their child’s life.  To get children to know their letters and numbers, parents are encouraged to read, play and sing to their infants and toddlers with the library providing materials including a “my first book”!
 
Patra Sevastiades, Duluth Public Library and Grants Committee member Jim Schwartz
 
Jerry Pelofsky as Vice President and chair of the Nominating Committee for the Rotary Club of Duluth Foundation announced that your local Rotary Foundation seeks a few good members to serve on the Foundation Board.  For those who wish to serve and to learn how your local foundation operates please contact Jerry Pelfosky at 218.485.1593 or email him at peof@aol.com
 
In addition to being the presiding officer, President Dean Casperson also had the personal pleasure of being the Chair of the Day and introducing our speaker Leo Spott.    Leo Spott is a recent graduate of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is currently awaiting the results of the bar exam!  He received his MBA from St. Scholastica.  He is a Rotarian from the Minneapolis ECO Rotary Club and is part of an extensive Rotary Family.  His grandmother Jan Biga, of the Superior Rotary Club, was in the Ballroom.  His Mother, Kay Biga, and his Father, Pat Spott, both of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club were with us on Zoom.
 
Speaker Leo Spott as seen via Zoom
 
Leo Spott spent several months in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands as part of a legal internship. During this time he learned about the history, government, economy, and geography of this distant US Territory.  Saipan is the largest island.  Saipan along with neighboring Tinian Island were strategic to the American war effort during World War II.   Saipan was the site of a bloody battle to drive out the Japanese defenders.  The loss of life to capture Saipan influenced the US military and civilian thinking about the cost to invade the Japanese homeland.  The ravages of the war, including armaments both in and out of the water, along with concrete bunkers, can be seen throughout the islands.  Tinian Island was made flat by the Navy Seabees to create six, two-mile-long, runways.  It became the busiest airport in the world and was the airfield from which the Enola Gay took off to strike Japan with atomic bombs. 
 
 
 
From 1983 to 2005 the economy relied upon the garment industry.  As a result of special immigration and labor laws of the territory, a number of manufactures created “sweatshops”.  With legal challenges and a change in the laws, this activity collapsed.  Casino gambling and tourism have become the dominant drivers of the economy.  The Territory is a tropical paradise with temperatures between 79 and 90 degrees.  Approximately 90% of the population is of Southeast Asia descent and non-natives cannot own land.  And ironically those from the Territory who wish to escape the island paradise travel to the Bay Area of California to experience an urban vacation!