April 26, 2010 Rotogram


Eleanor Griffin, Southern Living editor, will tell us about the region’s premier magazine and present a short video called “Soul of the South.”


Tom Dawson and Alan Lang, co-authors of Kings of Tort, a chronicle of the downfall of prominent Mississippi attorneys Richard “Dickie” Scruggs and Paul Minor, will be next week’s program guests.


Invocation and Pledge: Tommy Tomlinson

Attendance: Dropping below 50 percent attendance, we had only 100 members (31 exempt, 1 honorary) present and 90 (19 exempt, 11 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: John Robert Arnold’s guest Jeremy Rebecca Stevens was our only member guest. Guests of the Club were Ben Carver, city alderman; Rick Maiers, cubmaster; and, RYE students Francesca Scaravelli and Kasper Eriksen.

Kudos: President Martha noted that the extended Rotary family is increasing “precipitously” with the birth of twin grandchildren and great-grandchildren for Ernie George and Wilmot Thompson, respectively. President-elect Tommy Tomlinson also has welcomed a grandson.

      Roy Ruby has been drafted to be the Mississippi University for Women interim student services vice president.


President Martha presented the year’s second $500 support check for our Cub Scout Pack to new cubmaster Rick Maiers. He reported that eight Cubs received their Arrow of Light this Spring.


“There might be fundraisers that could bring in more money,” said President Martha. “But, our rodeo brings goodwill and economic benefit to the community.

      She conveyed a very complimentary thank you note from this year’s rodeo barrel racing champion, Hallie Bradford:

“From the very minute that we arrived in Starkville, it was clear that you had worked it to make everything great. The abundance of friendly faces, and great grounds and arena conditions will keep my husband and me making the ten-hour drive to your rodeo each year.”


It’s tough work, but somebody’s got to do it. This year’s district conference is a Gulf cruise. President Martha, Assistant District Governor Larry Mullins,  Past-District Governor Stu Vance, and Charlie Guest are representing the Club this week.


“(S)ustainable development . . . implies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 1987

      The Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi brings an interdisciplinary focus to improving quality of life through sustainable building, farming, recreation and conservation practices.

      Alison Buehler, founder, and Marion Sansing, executive director, introduced us to this Starkville-based organization founded just this year.

      Buehler, former owner of the Savvy Grape said, “I’ve turned my attention to non-profits where, if you don’t make money, it’s on purpose.”

      She and her physician husband Mike had long been interested in the concept, but their involvement really took off when they began retrofitting their home for energy efficiency.

      With the growth of their family, they became even more interested in a sustainable future.

      Gaining Ground started to:

  1. Showcase what already is happening in the state in the area of sustainability.
  2. Encourage people to network on sustainable issues and solutions.
  3. Build on and expand sustainable efforts.

      Posing the rhetorical question, “Why in Mississippi?” she quoted the book Ecological Design saying “Sustainability cannot be imposed by outside forces. It must be suited to the particularities of place. Sustainable solutions grow from place.”

      “For every solar, organic, or other solution you look for, you can find a hundred Web sites in Oregon, New Hampshire or Minnesota,” she said. “Southeastern solutions are pretty sparse. We want to know what works here.”

      Sansing described the fledgling organization’s projects and partnerships.

   The Starkville Community Market has asked the institute to take it under its wing to provide a structural base.

   Seeking to make it a model for Mississippi, they are applying for a $100,000 USDA farmers market promotion grant. In the process, they are encouraging a return to small farms supplying the immediate area.

      This season, they are asking civic organizations to provide volunteers one weekend for the season that starts in mid-May. About five volunteers are needed each weekend.

      The first annual Mississippi Homegrown Sustainability Conference, co-sponsored with the Natural Resources Initiative of North Mississippi, is July 30 through Aug. 1 at MSU’s Bost Conference Center.

      Another initiative is the children’s garden at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Partnered with Starkville’s 52 Moms group, the institute is helping children from the Brooksville Gardens grow vegetables for their families and sell the excess at the market.


April 9-11, 2010

GSE team leader Franco Docchio and team member Serena Giuliano study a specimen at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine Open House.

Past-president Chip Templeton hosts the GSE Team at MSU’s Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Music Museum. Team members Simona Gentilini, Alessandro Copeta, Serena Giuliano and Simone Stancari are joined by President Martha Wells.

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