Co-President John Risdall (Co-President Paul Fournier continues his recovery from surgery at his home and John reports Paul is making progress) opened the meeting at 12:30 pm by leading the club in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Our Invocation was offered by the Padre of New Brighton – Nils Friberg
Guests – today’s guests included;
· Suzanna Stulberg, Northern Star Council of Boy Scouts of America
· Jason Etten, Irondale High School Choir Director and Roseville City Council member
· Amy Janezek, Principal of Irondale High School
· Alex Huffman, with Edwards Jones and Co.
· Ronnie Nova, Irondale student who was awarded a Rotary scholarship to continue his studies at the University of MN-Duluth. Ronnie said that he plans to focus all of his time on “studying and working………………” so perhaps the Duluth Rotarians can watch him for us!!!??
· Mark Beisswenger (who did not mention any special sales for the end of gardening season?!) asked all Rotarians who volunteered for the bingo booth to stand so the club could thank them. Nearly $900 was raised via this project and several Rotary brochures were distributed to bingo players.
· Dave Hoel thanked all of the post-parade hot dog distribution volunteers and noted that George "Big Dog" Winiecki was spending this week at his cabin recovering from his hot dog management duties. Parade walkers (especially the Irondale football team) were very appreciative of the free food.
Gold Plate Dinner
· Cindy Carlson (event co-chair with Mary Stewart) reported that our 2017 Gold Plate Dinner will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville with catering provided by Axel’s Restaurant.
· Rotarians and guests should “Save the Date” for March 31, 2017 for this event.
Vikings Stadium Tour
· Our August 30 club meeting will be offsite via a coach bus trip to US Bank stadium
· Gerry Tietz reported that we have 53 attendees for this event so hopefully some future Rotarians will result from this event!!
· Gerry Tietz noted that the club’s September 13 strategic planning session is set to begin at 4:45 pm at the New Brighton Community Center
· Rotarians need to register for this seminar so the club can plan accordingly
Overall club members appeared to have a very good week last week as evidenced by numerous happy fines paid with smiles intact despite Mark’s buzz kill opening fine -
· Mark Lampkin assessed a $1.00 fine to any Rotarian who did not work at any of the New Brighton Stockyard Days service projects
· Glenna Dibrell – offered several dollars (this lowly scribe missed several of them) to celebrate the camaraderie exhibited at Stockyard Days and Mark Beisswenger’s singing voice which was not shared with the club members at least at today’s meeting. Mark Lampman and Glenna's husband, David, are shown below, working at the Rotary Bingo Tent.
· Dave Hoel – thanked the Stockyard Days hot dog distribution volunteers and noted that his group’s Canadian fishing trip was a huge success but he never explained what became of the 400+ fish they caught.
· Amy Wakem – donated several dollars to celebrate the Irondale scholarship recipient and the fact she found and delivered the club donation check to Ralph Reeder Food Shelf so overall a productive week for Community Service led by Amy!
· Garry Johnson – noted how much fun he had at Stockyard Days
· Raffle Reminder - our weekly raffle proceeds (minus the $5 that goes to the winner) are given to Ralph Reeder Food Shelf so buy more tickets next week to help the cause.
Club Treasurer, John Ordway, introduced today’s guest speakers representing the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory -
· Jackie Sticha - is the president of Como Friends. She has been with Como Friends for 16 years, leading efforts to grow private support to invest in programs and improvements at the zoo and conservatory. Under her tenure, Como Friends has invested $34.5 million in programs and improvements at Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.
· Allison Jungheim -is the Senior Zookeeper/Training Coordinator for Como Zoo. She has worked at Como Zoo for the past 13 years, starting as a keeper in both the Animal Support Building and Aquatic Animal Building. During this time, she was one of the trainers for the Sparky the Sea Lion show. Now she oversees all the operant conditioning training programs at the zoo and trains polar bears, tortoises, gorillas, and more while also supervising the zookeeper staff, serving as a media spokesperson, and helping with community outreach.
While she did not participate in the Power Point presentation Chloe the Sloth accompanied Jackie and Allison which added a petting zoo atmosphere to the end of the club meeting.
Jackie informed the club that the zoo is an entity (function) of the City of St. Paul. The historical background of Como Zoo includes the closing of Longfellow Zoo in Minneapolis in the 1930’s which resulted in their exotic animals being donated to Como Zoo. Additionally we learned that several structures at Como Zoo are the result of the Works Project Administration (WPA) program during the Great Depression.
Currently Como Zoo is the second most popular destination in Minnesota with the Mall of America ranking number one.
Como Zoo offers a wide range of programs including –
· Educational seminars with a focus on conservation
· Animal husbandry – which included the invention of a “blood port” which allows for the safe collection of blood samples from polar bears who merely place their paws in the port. A few Rotarians responded that the blood port would probably be needed to collect blood from them!
· Babies - recently several zoo residents have given birth especially the zebras so it seems like an ideal time to bring the kids/grandkids for a zoo visit.
· The “Blooming Butterflies” exhibit is VERY popular and since their life span is essentially 14 days this results in carcasses for art work and experiments.
· The “Giraffe Feeding Station” is also very popular where a $5 donation allows visitors to feed Skeeter heads of romaine lettuce
· Currently the zoo is building support for and lobbying for a new home for the Seals and Sea Lions to continue their 60 year tradition of seal shows. This project is estimated at $14.5 million and would hopefully be completed in 18 months once construction is approved.
· One very interesting fact we learned today is that Como Zoo is one of only four (4) “free zoos” in the USA which also includes – St. Louis Zoo, National Zoo in DC, and Lincoln Park in Chicago.
· Questions from the audience included –
Who does the zoo work with for veterinarian services? (Answer – U of MN),
What happens to the “poo poo” created by the various animals? (Answer - it can’t be composted so it is disposed of via the St. Paul garbage collection OR Gerry Tietz can have it delivered to his garden!),
Do Como Zoo and the MN Zoo collaborate? (Answer – yes on government relations work but Allison noted Como always beats MN Zoo via fantasy football)
Sloth roles? (Answer – amazing to be informed by zoo staff that the zoo’s sloths can be rented for birthday parties, wedding (romantic!), or perhaps for our 2017 Gold Plate Dinner?)
Jackie, Allison, John, John and Chloe are pictured below.
Co-President John Risdall led the club in the 4-Way Test to close the meeting at 1:35 pm
Submitted by Todd Kruse since Dr. Jeff Benson was still speaking at his press conference explaining his angling success in Canada which left the Canucks envious of his talent (or ability to tell a good fishing tale!).