This Week at Rotary
We Meet at Noon on Thursday
June 17, 2021
(Also Via Zoom)
Plated Meal Served
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
Jodi Slick
Founder and CEO
LNPK 156
Community Revitalization in Challenging Times
Lincoln Park is a neighborhood that represents some of our city’s greatest opportunities and challenges. This program explores the many facets of community development and its impact on Lincoln Park’s past, present, and future. Learn how Census Tract 156 (Lincoln Park) is an apt microcosm of our national conversation and collective future.
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Al Makynen
President Dean Casperson and Jeff Iisakka have become a dynamic duo.  Although the ring of the Rotary Bell was muffled the Rotary Reflection was absolutely clear. After listening to the definition of SISU, a famous four-letter word in Finnish, and perhaps also in English, it was clear that this four-letter word - like the Four-Way Test - is really a way of life.  SISU, roughly translated, means:  “extraordinary determination to persevere in the face of extreme adversity”.   Clearly, to be a Rotarian you must embrace SISU for how else would we ever have embarked on the task of eradicating polio!
Jeff Iisakka reflecting on famous four-letter words
With a plated meal and full tables, the Rotary fellowship has fully returned!  In addition to the Speaker, we had two guests both of whom are prospective members.  Josh Axeson from A&L Properties was the guest of Jena Evans.  Patra Sevastiades recently retired from the Duluth Public Library Fountain was the guest of Dean Casperson.  And the Golden Can became healthy after Past President Jerry Ostroski placed $56 in recognition of his recent wedding anniversary.  Jeff Iisakka announced the birth of Gabriel Michael Koep his fifth grandchild.  Al Makynen announced the recent baptism of his fifth grandchild, Johanna Elizabeth Makynen. 
Jerry Ostroski with cash in hand - stuffing the Golden Can
Fellowship at Rotary promises to be even better going forward with the exceptional good fortune of the introduction of not just one, but two new members.   Mike Waldron is the Executive Director of 23rd Veteran.  He was a Marine that served during the first invasion of Iraq.   His mission is to provide happier, healthier lives for veterans living with trauma.  Mike Waldron was sponsored for membership by Past District Governor Phil StromRoxanna Esguerra is a prosthodontist.  By her own admission, a dental specialist you do not want to see.  Her mission in life is to help people love their smile.  Roxanne Esguerra was sponsored for membership by her friend and mentor, Doug Erickson.
Sponsor Phil Strom with new member Mike Waldron   
Jack Seiler with new member Roxanne Esguerra and her sponsor Doug Erickson
Chair of the Day, President-Elect Nominee, Barb Perrella introduced her friend and fellow advocate for Downtown Duluth, Christie Stokes, President of the Greater Downtown Council.  Ms. Stokes was pleased to again be before a live audience.  Only so much energy and excitement can be conveyed via electronic meetings! 
The pandemic became a stark reality when Governor Walz was forced to issue an executive order to close restaurants and bars on March 17, 2020.  (Which everyone now knows to be President-Elect Chana Stocke’s birthday!)  In both our personal and professional lives we learned to pivot.  We made it happen as best we could.  Many of the events that make Duluth vibrant had to be canceled.  Music in the Park became an old-fashioned drive-in – where families were socially distanced in their cars.   But life is returning to Duluth.  Superior Street construction will be done soon.  The Lakewalk will be open soon.  Soon being in time for Grandma’s Marathon.   Based upon a survey of downtown employers, perhaps as much as 70% of workers will be back on-site by the end of June.  And there is a new increased level of optimism.  There is a pent-up demand to have Duluth be a travel destination.  A new marketing campaign will soon be in place.  The phrases are fun and self-evident – the best kind.  “Dining Out is Better Out”; "Beer is Better with Buds”; "Live Music is Better Live”.
Downtown Duluth will be vibrant again.  The 90 square block area from Mesabi Avenue to 10th Avenue East and from Second Street to Canal Park will once again be a destination for workers, citizens, and tourists.  The Clean and Safe Team will ensure a positive experience.  And the 110 Street Scape Planters and 115 Hanging Flower Baskets will add the color that has been missing. It is time to return and enjoy your downtown.
Speaker Kristi Stokes with President Dean Casperson and Chair Barb Perrella