Our guests today were Assistant District Governor Julie Gotham from the Blaine Ham Lake club and Mary Jo McGuire.  We also had a special Zoom appearance by Dennis Connolly’s infant granddaughter Emma.  Emma is being groomed as a future Rotarian
President Ed James noted that important Rotary dates have been sent to you by email.  You can also download them by clicking here.
John Johnson has agreed to join the board of the Community Support Center (CSC).  The Club thanks John for agreeing to represent us at this important community organization.  Thanks also to Paul Fournier for his service on the CSC Board and for encouraging John to take his position on the Board.
President Ed stressed the importance of attendance at next week’s Zoom Club meeting.  District Governor Ed Marek will be making his annual club visit and we’d love to have a big zoom turnout for his visit.  Because of time constraints, the previously scheduled speaker will be moved to another date.
Club Treasurer John Ordway said that the application for a $5,000 grant from State Farm Insurance for our No-Plate Dinner fundraiser has passed the first approval level and should be fully approved by early December.  We are also expecting the $2,500 Bell Lumber and Pole matching grant to come through soon.
Geoff Hollimon reported that the Suburban Ramsey Emergency Coalition’s ‘73 Mustang Convertible Raffle ticket sales are going extremely well with 800 of 1,000 available tickets sold to date.  Contact Geoff Hollimon if you don’t have your ticket yet or need some more.  Geoff also noted that the coalition’s expanded grant criteria are continuing to generate grant requests.  Geoff also praised Mary Stewart and the CPY staff for their response to the educational void created by Covid-19.  CPY’s new Distance Learning Support Program provides free or low cost full day distance learning supervision for 100-120 K-8th grade youth.  The program has so impressed Tom Bell of Bell Lumber and Pole that the company has offered a $65,000 matching grant for new and increased donations to CPY.  Let Geoff know if you would like to take advantage of this generous matching grant.
Jed Hamoud reported that we have sent a check for $1,500 to support the Lebanon Collaboration in its efforts to deal with the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.
We once again remind Rotarians that October is “Strike Out Polio” month.  Donations to the Polio campaign during October will earn you matching Foundation Recognition Points according to the following schedule:
 - Donations of $100-364 will earn double recognition points
 - Donations of $365+ will earn 635 additional recognition points. 
The key is that the check (made out to The Rotary Foundation) must be received by John Ordway in time for John to report it to the Foundation by October 31st.  Alternatively, you could donate online but be sure that you specify the Polio Fund and let John know that you made the online donation.
Nyle Zikmund introduced our speaker, Lia Spaniolo, the new Program Coordinator of the Anoka County Master Gardener Program.  The Master Gardener Program is part of University of Minnesota Extension.  As a Land Grant University, the U of M is obligated to share its resources and research with Minnesotans through public outreach programs.  The Master Gardeners Program is one part of that outreach.  The Anoka County Master Gardener Program has 115 active members, each of whom volunteers at least 25 hours in various Master Gardener activities and many contribute much more than that.  Lia said that the total annual volunteer hours are 7,500, of which 4,300 hours is direct service and teaching.  Activities include:
- Ask a Master Gardener Booths at events and fairs
- Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinics
- Speakers Bureau
- State Yard and Garden Hotline (statewide partnership)
- Classes and Tours
- Plant Sales
- Habitat for Humanity Partnership
- Schoolyard Gardens
- Writer’s Guild
Covid-19 has interrupted many of the Master Gardener’s activities but they are excited to offer many online options until the pandemic abates.
If you would like to be a Master Gardener, applications are accepted in September and October and, if accepted, core training runs from January through May (online this year).  Fifty volunteer hours are required during the first year and twenty five hours in subsequent years.  Five hours of continuing education is also required per year to maintain membership.
For more information, go to https://www.anokamastergardeners.org/
While door knocking in his run for Anoka County Commissioner, Nyle Zikmund came across a woman who was supplementing her public assistance income by making sports team themed gnomes.  He was so taken by her efforts that he bought several for family and friends.  Nyle offered to acquire more for those who are interested. (photo below)
Nils Friberg relayed Gerry Tietz’s greetings to the club after visiting him at his new home.
Nils asked for our prayers for his wife Peg, whose health is in decline with the spread of her cancer.  Nils’ first wife passed away from cancer in 2006.
Ed James reported that his daughter has received an acceptance letter from Loyola Medical School!
Don’t forget to attend the District Governor’s Zoom visit next Tuesday at Noon.