Posted by Jeff Benson on Sep 03, 2019
Today’s Guests were: Our Japanese exchange student, Nanase Hirama and John Chandler.
President Dennis Connolly invited everyone to attend the breakfast meeting this Thursday, 7:15AM, at The BruHouse for a discussion of the proposed Honorary Rotarian Designation Guidelines.
Check your email for a complete list of upcoming activities.
Dennis presented some information to clarify last week’s announcement about progress toward a “polio-free” world.  Great progress has been made in controlling the “wild” polio virus but there is still a problem with “vaccine derived” polio virus.  These vaccine derived strains occur through mutation of the weakened polio virus used to make the vaccines.  Poor human waste disposal systems allow people to come in contact with the excreted viruses which are capable of causing polio.  These vaccine derived viruses will be the major challenge in the ongoing fight to eradicate polio.
Happy Bucks Highlights
- John Risdall offered a buck in celebration of son Ted’s 50th birthday.  We’re all invited to the birthday celebration this Thursday from 2-6 PM at Risdall Marketing, 2685 Long Lake Road
- Bob Barmore was happy to announce the birth of his granddaughter, Lana.
Jed Hamoud introduced the KnightKrawlers robotics team from Irondale.  Mentor Scott Davis introduced the team members: Maria Johnson – Public Relations Captain, Mathew Ryan – Team Co-Captain, Chris Hardwick – Strategy Captain, Xander Pichner – Build Team Member and Michael Nguyen – Build Team Member.  The students took over from there, presenting an excellent overview of the robotics team at Irondale.  Scott provided the following summary of the program for inclusion in this bulletin:
KnightKrawler Robotics is entering the 14th year this year. Only one other team in the state of Minnesota is older than the Irondale Robotics team.  The team has finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the state tournament every year for the past 7 years, with a first place finish 3 times.  Additionally, the team has attended the World Championships the past 7 years, making it to the finals with 30 other teams out of 600 that competed at the championships in Detroit in 2019.  KnightKrawler has a long history of promoting STEM in our community and at large.  They have traveled to Washington DC to meet with members of Minnesota's Congressional Delegation about the value of STEM education and robotics programs in schools.  Every year KnightKrawler introduces hundreds of kids to high school robotics by presenting at clubs as small as a Girl Scout troop and to conferences with over a thousand adults and several hundred children.  These students from Irondale High School also mentor junior high students in their robotics clubs within our district, as well as assist teams at other high schools around the area, including Mounds View, Totino Grace, Columbia Heights and Coon Rapids. Every year, the team purchases materials for, and builds a complete practice field the size of a volleyball court, which is used to host a practice tournament allowing 30+ teams from the area to have a chance to practice before their first official tournament. The team isn't only about the technical skills of building and programming a robot.  The team also has a dedicated group of students that focus on the business aspect of the program, including marketing, social media, web development, educational outreach, and fundraising. The team receives less than 10% of their annual operating budget from the school district. As such, the team runs like a business, operating year, with approximately 3/4 as a registered 501c3 non-profit.  Finally, in case you think Robotics is a small program, the state of Minnesota now has more high school robotics teams than hockey teams.  KnightKrawler averages 45 to 50 students on the team each graduating seniors electing to "go pro" by pursuing a career in a STEM related field. In the past 5+ years, KnightKrawler averages about 30% female members, with young women typically fulfilling half of the student leadership roles on the team.  You can learn more about the team at
The Team, Scott and Jed are pictured below, followed by a photo of the demo robot they brought along.