Posted by Jeff Benson on Apr 17, 2018
Nils Friberg opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and Mike Neeley offered the invocation.
Our guests today were Vadnais Heights Rotarian Jeff Niesen and Stillwater Sunrise Rotarian Doug Pepin.  Doug was here to invite us to the Stillwater club’s “Brewer’s Bazaar” fundraiser on May 19th.  Click here for more details.
President Gerry Tietz welcomed John Marg-Patton to the stage for the final prizes in the Gold Plate Dinner ticket sales contest.  The $75 ticket sales grand prize went to Cindy for selling 10 full price tickets.  Wow!  Jim O’Brien was the lucky winner of $75 in the at-large drawing.
John Ordway reported that the Gold Plate Dinner preliminary numbers suggest that this year’s gala will likely be the most successful fundraiser to date.  He estimated that we may net as much as $23,000!   Well done, NBMV.
Nicole Ulrich reminded us of the Benedictine Health Center’s eleventh annual Gala to be held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Friday, May 18th from 5:30-11:00PM.   Click here to reserve your place or donate to this very worthy cause.
Ed James still needs volunteers for the 4th Grade Foresters tree give-away on Friday afternoon, April 27th.  Please contact Ed ASAP to volunteer!
Ed also announced that we will once again be helping with the 2nd Harvest Heartland food collection in conjunction with the Postal Service.  Our location will once again be at Cub Foods on Rice St. near Hwy. 36.  The homeless students from Life Prep Academy will join us for the collection.  Mark your calendars now for Saturday, May 12th.  More details to follow.
More attendees are still needed for the Community Support Center Luncheon on April 26th.  Let’s have a good showing to support this great community resource.
President Gerry noted that we will be recognized at least three times during the District 5960 Conference of Clubs for our accomplishments during this Rotary year.  There may even be cake next Tuesday to celebrate our accomplishments.
Garry and Nancy Johnson are the proud announce the birth of their granddaughter, Sophie.  Mother and daughter are both doing well.
Cindy said Kevin will be at Regions tomorrow to receive a new hip. 
Cindy Carlson introduced Kara VanderKamp, Executive Director of Remember Niger Coalition (RNC).  Kara was here to update us on RNC’s efforts to promote education in Niger.  It’s not surprising that, as the world’s least developed country, Niger’s schools are extremely underfunded.  NBMV Rotary began partnering with RNC to help educate more children by acting as the primary sponsor of a Rotary Global Grant in 2012.   We have continued this partnership by participating in matching grants to create safe and sanitary schools where students, and especially girls, can begin to escape the grip of poverty.  School attendance statistics in Niger are sobering with 38% attending elementary school, 11% attending middle school and only 3% making it to high school.  RNC now supports 2,200 students in 10 communities and would like to do so much more.  Recent initiatives include schools for deaf and disabled students who are marginalized in Niger.  Niger requires all schools to be permanent cement or masonry structures, increasing the up-front cost of school buildings, but generous donations and grants are slowly, but surely, resulting in new schools.  You can help to provide bricks for schools, sponsor a child, or get more information by clicking here.   Cindy and Kara are pictured below.