President-elect Paul Fournier (subbing for Dana) opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and Eric Nelson offered the invocation.
Tom Wilson from Risdall Marketing presented an opportunity to sponsor a table at the Achieve Services Gala on Friday, April 15th, at Bunker Hills Golf Club.  Tom serves on the board at Achieve Services, which provides employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled.  Table sponsorships are available starting at $800 (8 tickets). If you or your business are interested in sponsoring a table, click here and scroll down to the sponsorship information.  If you would like to purchase an individual ticket, click here.
Glenna Dibrell announced the birth of Maximillian (9 pounds 2 ounces), making her a grandma for the third time.  Everyone is doing well.  Ask Glenna to see photos.
Bev Aplikowski noted that she has 22 grandkids.
Nils Friberg is celebrating his 8th anniversary with Peg.
Eric Nelson announced that he is going to back to school in the fall to get his doctorate in education which means that he will be resigning as Principal at Irondale. You will be missed, Eric!
Geoff Hollimon thanked all those who attended and supported the CPY Spring Luncheon last Tuesday.
Gerry Tietz reported that Char Samuelson is in memory care.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her and husband Gerry.
Cindy provided an update on the Gold Plate Dinner.  This year's event will not have a silent auction. It will be replaced by "Fund a Cause" and a "Split the Pot" Raffle. We will still have the Raffle/Bingo combination and live auction as before.  Hiring a comedian is also under consideration.  Everyone should get busy selling tickets to ensure a successful event.
Dave Hoel reminded us that the Easter Egg Stuffing will be on Palm Sunday, March 20th at 11AM at Lakeside Homes, 1200 Foss Rd. The Egg Hunt itself will be on March 26th and everyone should be at Driftwood Park by 10 AM.
As promised, John 1 and John 2 (a.k.a. Ordway and Marg-Patton) brought delicious cookies to help celebrate their birthdays but happy fines and Gold Plate Dinner announcements took so much time that we were unable to sing happy birthday to them today.  John Marg-Patton seemed distressed that he would be deprived of the honor of wearing the birthday hat until Paul assured him that he could wear it next week. Whew!
Eric Nelson introduced our speaker, award winning photographer and author, John Noltner.  John has  worked as a freelance photographer for over 20 years, shooting for national magazines and Fortune 500 companies. Like most freelance photographers, he felt the impact of the economic recession in 2007 and, as he describes it, "the economy handed me some free time".  This free time was an opportunity to consider new ways to use his photography and storytelling skills. In his home they have the saying, "Some jobs feed the belly...and some jobs feed the soul", so John imagined a way to feed his soul by traveling over 40,000 miles around the U.S. asking people, "What does peace mean to you?". The result is a multimedia exhibit of portraits and stories of ordinary people from all walks of life, all races and religions, which reveal ideas about how we might work together toward the common good and even, perhaps, toward peace. This exhibit spawned the idea of a book version of the exhibit but, as is so common today, publishers were hesitant to publish anything unconventional. So the exhibit self-published the book titled "A Peace of My Mind" using a Kickstarter campaign. The book features interviews of 52 diverse Minnesotans and along with 2 traveling exhibits, speaking engagements and workshops, it provides a framework for dialogue about conflict resolution, civic responsibility and peace. John shared some lessons learned during his time on this project:
  • Mel Duncan, of Nonviolent Peaceforce left John with the thought that "We struggle with a shrunken notion of our own ability".
  • Jennifer McNally taught him that, "Even when life is bad, it's still really, really good".
  • Eric Gibson, a Buddhist teacher shared that, "If you think about the happiness of others, then there is always interesting work to do".
The success of this project has led to a second book, American Stories, and it will be the topic when John returns to deliver part two of his story on April 26th.  John and Paul are shown below.