The Gimlet
Volume 109 #08

September 7, 2023
For Those Attending in Person
(Zoom Meeting Opens at 11:45)
(Link Sent Thursday Morning)
Holiday Inn Downtown
Julie Waltenburg
Executive Director
Bringing Pets and People Together
Animal Allies Humane Society in Duluth, MN is a long-established pillar of the Animal Welfare Community. We have served the lower St. Louis County area for over 60 years. From humble beginnings as a foster-based rescue group to today's bricks and mortar Adoption Center, our commitment to serving the people and pets of the Northland is only growing stronger.
Highlights from Last Week’s Meeting
By Al Makynen
The last day of August, and the room was full of Rotarians.  President Gary Melander introduced several guests, one or more of whom are soon to become new members!  The Rotary Reflection was given by Vinod Gupta, who asked: “Why can’t we execute on what we plan to do?”  Too often we have a fear of failure and conjure up reasons not to start – even when we have the skills to accomplish the task.  He admonished us to “change our personal story from “I can’t” to “I will.”
Vinod Gupta making sure that Rotarians “Get it Done!”
Geiger Yount reminded us of our long tradition of supporting the Lake Superior Harvest Festival, which is held on the Saturday after Labor Day at the Bayfront Festival Park.  Our job is to welcome people to the park and seek donations for the Sustainable Farmers Association who host the event.
Geiger Yount making sure we help the farmers.
Nancy Erickson visited the Rotary Club of Teton Valley and brought back a flag.  This was a reminder of any member’s ability to visit any Rotary Club worldwide. 
Nancy Erickson with flag presentation to President Gary Melander
A closer look
The 38th Annual Rotary Rose Sale is just around the corner.  The Kick-Off meeting will be next week but tickets were available at the meeting and are in the Rotary office for those who wanted to get an early start.  President Gary Melander asked us to dust off our client lists and get started!  Also, consider helping with the Rotary Rose Coupon Book.  The website: has more information and is a great place for folks to buy their roses. Distribution (Rotary Rose Day - Friday, October 13) is known to many of us as one of the best fellowship opportunities in our Club.
Chair of the Day and President Gary Melander introduced our speaker Nathan Bentley.  This year is the 20th Anniversary of Bentleyville.  A labor of love, a hobby, and a passion to beautify the City of Duluth!  Its beginnings were in Esko, on Highway 61, in 2003.  It expanded quickly so that by 2007 over 72,000 spectators of the Tour of Lights were being bussed from distant parking lots.  By 2009, it was time to move to Bayfront Festival Park with the encouragement of Mayor Don Ness and some financial help from the City of Duluth.
President Gary Melander with our speaker Nathan Bentley
The centerpiece of the light display is the 128-foot-tall steel tree.  This is the largest artificial Christmas tree in the United States.  Built, put up, taken down, and inspected annually by the Iron Workers Union 512 as their contribution.  This year, the work begins with set-up starting on September 18.  The Tour of Lights runs from November 18 to December 26, 2023.  If you go, and you should go, there will be over $5 million LED lights twinkling in the snow with the harbor as a backdrop.  And if you are seeking a unique wedding venue, it costs just $200 to reserve the inside of the steel tree!  And if you were wondering who splits all that wood for all those bonfires everywhere every night, it is done by a crew of six federal prisoners. 
The numbers are truly staggering when it comes to this event.  $22 Million is the estimated economic impact on Duluth.  $900,000 is the annual budget.  Revenues come from parking, gift shop, corporate sponsors, candy bar sales, and donations.  350,000 people from a five-state area and beyond attend.  400,000 cookies are distributed.  Ok guys, who took the extra cookie!?  30,000 knitted winter hats are given to children who visit Santa.
The USA Today Newspaper declared Bentleyville the “Best Light Show in the Nation”.  So when you go (weeknight is best), not if, and you eat more than one cookie, make a generous donation in one of the many North Pole Mail Boxes or become one of the hundreds of volunteers that make this event happen!
Rob Hofmann with his guest Ian Grant
The usual suspects, Jim Schwartz, Tom Young and Jon Ohman waiting for the 50/50 pot to get big!
Rotarian Volunteer Opportunities
Geiger Yount seeking volunteers for the 2023 Lake Superior Harvest Festival  on Saturday, September 9th
Duluth Playhouse seeks volunteers for a performance of Mel Brook’s Hit Broadway musical Young Frankenstein   
Sign up to usher for Young Frankenstein Community Night on Wednesday, September 13th. 
This Week's Meeting
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Holiday Inn Great Lakes Ballroom
200 W. 1st Street
Duluth, MN 55802
United States of America
Venue Map
Venue Map
Sep 07, 2023
Animal Allies Humane Society
Sep 14, 2023 12:00 PM
Sep 21, 2023 12:00 PM
Finding Happiness at Work – A Mindful Approach
Sep 28, 2023 12:00 PM
The Port of Duluth-Superior
Oct 26, 2023 12:00 PM
2023 Iditarod Dogsled Race champion
View entire list
Upcoming Events
Rotary Board of Directors
Rotary Office
Sep 20, 2023 4:00 PM
Rotary Board of Directors
Rotary Office
Oct 18, 2023 4:00 PM
View entire list
Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Betty George
September 2
Dale Johnson
September 2
Roxanna Esguerra
September 15
Craig Fellman
September 22
Jay Ott
September 23
Join Date
Bonita Nelson
September 1, 1987
36 years
Deb Ellingsen
September 2, 2021
2 years
Steve Hadley
September 16, 1999
24 years
Mike Lalich
September 19, 1996
27 years
Jack Seiler
September 21, 2020
3 years
Official Publication of
Rotary Club of Duluth
207 W. Superior St.
Suite 201
Duluth Minnesota 55802
Rob Hofmann
Darlene Anderson
Rob Hofmann
Al Makynen
Traci Marciniak
Phil Strom
Steve Yorde
Jerry Thoreson
Rotary Office Hours:
By Appointment Only
Until Further Notice