Nov. 28, 2016 Newsletter


Rotarians and Kiwanis enjoying lunch together.

Short newsletter this week, as we did not have a program last Wednesday. Instead, members of the Newberg Kiwanis joined us for a pre-holidays get-together. The Kiwanis’ motto is “Serving Children of the World,” and, among other items, board member Kevin Purcell reported on the clubs they support at local elementary and intermediate schools, and the High School, to help build leadership skills in children of all ages.


Matthew Fletcher, Vocal Point choir director.

We were all entertained by the Newberg High School Vocal Point Choir, under the direction of Matthew Fletcher. This choir took first at the Oregon Music Educators Association State Small Ensemble competition last April. They sang a wide variety of holiday songs, including the really enjoyable “Fruitcake” song (“Don’t forget the cinnamon!”) and “The 11 Days of Christmas.” (No, that is not a typo.)

The choir will be performing at the upcoming tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 2, too. Their biggest fundraiser of the year, the Winter Gala, is scheduled for Dec. 15 at 5:30pm at the high school. Tickets are $10, and there will be a silent auction as well. The choir will also perform in Salem and at the Grotto tomorrow night at 8pm in Portland. You might have another chance to hear them in 2017, as rumor has it they plan to sing at the upcoming Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration in Newberg on Monday, January 16 at the Chehalem Cultural Center.


The NHS Vocal Point Choir.

Nov. 21, 2016 Newsletter


Left to right, Mike, Bob, Dale and Corey help assemble gift bags.

Last week’s meeting brought on a sudden “My Rotary Moment” for me. First, there was listening to the three high school speakers talk about the “life changing” difference our club made by helping make a visit to our nation’s capital possible. Then, after seeing many club members stay after lunch to help stuff holiday gift bags for kids, it just really struck me how much good our club does in the community and the wide variety of causes we support. Kudos to you, club members!


Some 700 gift bags were assembled after lunch last week.


Bethany Rittenhouse from Newberg High School introduced us to the “Close Up” program, which allows any student who speaks English as a second language to take a week-long trip to Washington D.C. to learn about our government. The cost runs about $2000, and participants have to fund their own trip. Last year, there were 10 applicants and 6 were able to go. Among them were our speakers: juniors Jesica and Carina Baca and sophomore Yazmin Uribe. (By the way, Jesica and Carina are also volunteer counselors at Newberg’s Peace Village summer day camp.)


Bethany Rittenhouse introduces the “Close Up” program.

Each girl was asked about the highlights and the surprises of the trip. Comments included visiting the Jefferson Monument and the Holocaust Museum, meeting students from across the country, meeting Rep. Suzanne Bonamici and Sen. Jeff Merkley, finding out how a bill becomes law, and discovering that D.C. drivers honk a lot!


Left to right, Carina Baca, Yazmin Uribe and Jesica Baca talk about their visit to Washington D.C.







Besides our speakers, our guest was newlywed and soon-to-be-member Dan Keuler from the City of Newberg. Past prez Jim McMcMaster had to duck out right after lunch to get the Christmas tree for the upcoming lighting ceremony on Dec. 2. Be sure you have this date on your calendar! (And thanks, Jim.)

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, you are invited to attend a special Retirement Reception for Spike Sumner from 3-5pm in the Ruth Cafe at Providence Newberg Hospital. Light refreshments and cake will be provided. And at 3:30pm there will be a few speakers. All are invited to congratulate and honor Spike in his retirement!

Todd Engle is soliciting ideas on how the club and our meetings can be more meaningful/fun for you. If you have something you’d like to share, give him a buzz.


Nov. 14, 2016 Newsletter

“My Zone.” Sounds like a place you’d like to be in, right?

Well, if you’re a middle schooler, there is such a place now housed at Newberg Christian Church …. an after-school youth center featuring lots of fun activities, food, games and classes.


Dave Case explains “My Zone.”

Dave Case, senior minister, gave us a presentation last week packed with information about My Zone.

“It provides a safe place for kids to hang out after school,” he said. “It has had a strong start this year, with over 300 unique middle school participants.”

Some of the fun and educational experiences that have been provided to the kids so far:

  • A welding demo by our own Jeff Lane‘s Newberg Steel and Fabrication
  • A theater class teaching improv acting techniques
  • A visit from Newberg PCC to share opportunities to train for careers through apprenticeships vocational certificates, technical degrees or classes for a Bachelor’s Degree
  • A “Fun with Cooking” class (Dave said some of the kids had never peeled a carrot in their lives. They ended up making a carrot cake and were so proud!)
  • A bicycle repair and maintenance class
  • A robot demonstration by the Newberg High School robotics team
  • Our own Jim McMaster will visit in February to discuss water polo and Croatia

Dave gave a sobering statistic that 80% of all teenage drug use occurs Monday through Friday between the hours of 3 and 5 pm. So when is My Zone open? Of course! Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 pm. But they often find they are still trying to close the doors at 5:30 or 6. “Some of the kids just really don’t have much to go home to,” Dave said.

Not everything goes well all the time. Bus transportation to and from the two middle schools has had some glitches, but those are being worked out.

One neat thing is the kids also get a chance to help out with community service projects.

Dave thanked all the community partners who support My Zone, including Rotary, George Fox University, Dutch Brothers Coffee and others. He indicated they are always interested in volunteers, too.


Our guests last week: new-member-any-second-now Dan Keuler from the City of Newberg; Tom Stram, Jim Bush, Debbie Groat and Tami Foster with My Zone and Newberg Christian Church.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s both happy and sad. We get to say “Congratulations!” to Colby Strunk, who is starting a new position with Tanner Spring, an assisted living and memory care facility in West Linn, on Dec. 5th. He will be their Director of Marketing and Community Outreach Specialist. But it also means we will be saying “Farewell,” as he will be transferring to the West Linn Rotary Club. Colby says he looks forward to serving the community he grew up in, but will sorely miss everyone here. We wish him the best and hope he will visit us often.


The rare opportunity to hear from a Holocaust survivor is available this Thursday night at 6:30pm at the Chehalem Cultural Center. If you haven’t signed up, don’t miss this special event with Anneke Bloomfield.


It’s still 5 months away, but next year’s auction is already being planned under the leadership of Denise Bacon (thank you, Denise, for stepping up). There will be a planning meeting this Wednesday at 5pm at Adec….committee chairs needed!


December is starting to look busy…. the tree lighting ceremony is on the 2nd from 6 to 8pm (but please come earlier– from 4:30 to 5:30pm– to help set up). And Spike Sumner‘s retirement party is on the 7th!



Please consider staying after this week’s meeting to help stuff gift bags to hand out to children at the Dec. 2 tree lighting ceremony. Candles like the one at right will be part of the bags.

Photos by Auggie Gonzales. So glad you’re back, Auggie!

Nov. 7, 2016 Newsletter

Some interesting news tidbits were shared prior to our featured speaker, Cara Copeland, last week.

For example, Laura Tilrico reported the wonderful news that about $54,000 had been sent to Nepal to accomplish a project that will provide clean drinking water for the town of Godam Chour– a community of 2300 people who no longer have access to clean water due to the April 2015 earthquake. Five clubs participated in the funding…our own, the Early Birds, Seaside, Beaverton and Milwaukie. Work will begin immediately and should conclude in 2017.

Tony Lelack from Excell Fitness announced their annual turkey drive is underway. He asked that you help make the holiday nicer for a less fortunate family by either bringing a turkey to a meeting, taking one to Excell at 1150 Industrial Parkway #106, or possibly donating $20 to this worthy cause. Donations are given to FISH.

Ray Hillman said he is off to Copenhagen to visit two of his children who are working there. And soon thereafter, he’ll be leaving us for the winter as he heads to his home in Mexico.

City of Newberg employee Dan Keuler was introduced as a prospective new member. The countdown is on, Dan…..

President Leah told us about plans to assemble 700 gift bags right after our Nov. 16th meeting for distribution to kids during the Dec. 2 tree lighting ceremony. Plan on staying late on the 16th to help out if you can!


Cara Copeland told us about “A Family Place” with the Chehalem Cultural Center’s “Day of The Dead” event decorations on display behind her. P.S. Won’t you be glad when Auggie returns as our photographer?

And our featured speaker was really interesting, too. “The Story of A Family Place” was the title of the presentation by Cara Copeland. And what a story it is. All about reducing child abuse, neglect and foster placements in Yamhill County through the services of “A Family Place,” the Newberg relief nursery Cara manages.

What is a “relief nursery”?

Cara told us it focuses on three integrated areas to stabilize at-risk families in Yamhill County: parent education, home visits and specialized preschool training for children ages 0 to 5.

She outlined some of the risk factors that contribute to troubled families, such as unemployment, mental health issues, poverty, teen pregnancies, alcohol or drug addiction, homelessness, less than a high school education and incarceration.

Financial support to administer this program to help families comes by leveraging private dollars to get state funding. Cara said they raise $1.50 in community support for every state dollar obtained, and recently raised $20,000 at a community luncheon. They also receive grants from United Way and the Ford Family Foundation.

Some of the really terrific outcomes of this program that Cara pointed out:

  • Improved parent-child interaction
  • Improved family functioning
  • Increased frequency of reading to children
  • Increased parental employment
  • Reduced use of Emergency Department services

How can Rotarians help?

Cara suggested becoming a monthly sustaining donor, or a volunteer at the facility (which is housed next to Joyful Servant Lutheran Church on Villa Rd.) or serving on a fundraising or leadership committee. And remember our recent diaper drive? They can ALWAYS use those donations!