August 27, 2007 Rotogram


Today’s guest is State Economist Phil Pepper, who also serves as assistant commissioner for research and planning for the IHL Board. We’re looking forward to a report of the current status of Mississippi’s economy.


There will be no meeting next Monday in observance of Labor Day.

The Fall program schedule is almost full. Here’s a look at what’s ahead in September.

September 10 our program will deal with computer security. Guest speaker will be Ray Vaughn, Endowed Professor in the MSU Computer Science and Engineering Department.

September 17, we will hear from Eric Clark, Mississippi Secretary of State.

September 24, our guest will be Glenn Dennis of Griffin Armor in West Point.


Invocation and Pledge: Bob Wolverton.

Attendance: Summer is over so there aren’t many empty seats at our weekly meetings. Last Monday, there were 128 members (92 active, 36 exempt) present and 71 missing (42 active, 18 exempt, 10 honorary). One member is on leave. Current membership is 199.

Guests: Guests of members were Nicole Thomas of Phil Burchfield; Tommy Stevenson of Mel Ray; Steven Buehler of his father George; and Zach Leach of his father Rob. Club guests included Lynda Forbus (wife of DG Jack Forbus); Maryna Melnik and Negrita Caicedo (RYE students); and Shoshana Brackett (Starkville Daily News).

New Member: Attending his first meeting as a member of Starkville Rotary Club was Bobby Eiland, new Headmaster of Starkville Academy.

Makeups: DG Jack Forbus and ADG Larry Box made up in Macon August 14 when Jack made his official visit to the club.

Meeting Notes: President Ned reminded members to sign up for the August 29 “Get Swept Up” campaign. Susan Gamel is coordinating the effort.

Ned added a banner with this year’s R.I.theme, “Rotary Shares,” to the Club’s banner collection.

The Membership/Classification Committee met following adjournment of Rotary.


Rotary Foundation Committee Chair Robert Clark recognized three Rotarians who have moved from Sustaining Members to Paul Harris Fellow status. They are Melvin Ray, Rodney Faver, and former member Sammy Henderson. District Governor Jack Forbus was presented his two-stone multiple donor pin. He is also a Rotary Foundation Benefactor.


Governor Jack Forbus, in his “official visit’ to his home club, said he is extremely honored to represent Starkville Rotary in providing leadership to the 44-club District 6820 this year.

“Lloyd Rose was going to give the Rotary Minute, but he’s ill today and I want to touch briefly on what he was going to tell us,” Jack said before beginning his formal address. “Lloyd was going to remind us that our club has had seven District Governors. Not many clubs have provided that much leadership to the district.

“I’m so proud to be the seventh. Bill Foster (1998-99) and Stuart Vance (2005-06) are here today – the other four have gone to glory,” he said. Those were Stacy Anderson, (1964-6), Henry Leveck (1970-71), Garnett Thomas ( 1977-78), and Merrill Hawkins (1981-82) .

“I bring greetings from Rotary International President Wilf Wilkinson. He’s from Canada and recently received the Order of Canada, that country’s highest civilian honor. He has chosen for this year’s theme Rotary Shares.

What does Rotary share? “Rotarians share their time, their talents, their treasury. This Club shares all of these in our community and beyond,” Jack said.

District 6820 has 2,350 members in 44 clubs. Jack’s leadership team includes seven assistant District Governors: Bob Killelea of Canton, Danny Williams of Jackson, Davis Clark of Leland, Randy Hill of Ellisville, Roscoe Greene of Brandon, Steve Anderson of Louisville, and Larry Box of Starkville. James Hunger of Winona is District Secretary; Nellah Taylor of Starkville is District Treasurer. Governor-Elect is Joel Clements, Sr., of Waynesboro; Governor Nominee is Chuck Jordan of Greenville.

Four major areas of concern that Rotary International is focusing on this year are water, literacy, health, and hunger. Emphasis is also being given to the family of Rotary, especially youth, and public relations.

“Of course, polio eradication, which for 20 years has consumed Rotary, is still at the forefront.” He said there have been 337 new cases reported so far this year, 79% of them in Nigeria, and from northern India to Afghanistan.

“The focus for this District for at least the next 3 years is literacy. Literacy is a problem in Mississippi, in our District, and in every community. The challenge is for every club to save at least one child per year.”

The State of Mississippi allocates 65% of its general budget for education, ranking in the top ten in percentage of budget spent on education. The problem is there just isn’t enough of a tax base. The second largest allocation goes to prisons. Jack said it’s estimated that 70% of jailed prisoners can’t read. The average cost per jail cell is $20,000 to $25,000 per year. “I want us to take these tax users and make them tax payers.”

Jack is proud that our Club supports education with our teacher/student recognition program and our mentor scholarships. We are already working on literacy with the dictionary project. This year, we’ll give dictionaries to every third and fourth grader in our community and county schools. What more can we do?

We can volunteer to read to first, second, and third graders in a local school. We can do something with high school drop outs. Mississippi high schools have an average dropout rate of 26% – our dropout rate in Starkville and Oktibbeha County schools is even higher.

“I challenge this club to find these people and work with them. Help them get a GED (General Education Diploma).”

He believes the state also must raise standards. “Even if you pass a reading test here, you wouldn’t pass in many other states.”

He said Rotary has established a literacy award. September 8 has been designated National Literacy Day. March will be National Literacy Month. To be eligible for the award, clubs must have three literacy projects – with our students/teacher recognition and the dictionaries, we already have two.

Governor Jack concluded his remarks by challenging Rotarians to work with President Ned Browning and his committees to once again qualify our club for a Presidential Award.

DG Forbus was introduced by Assistant DG Larry Box, who revealed that Jack is a native of Amory and a graduate in industrial engineering from Mississippi State. He’s been a State Farm Agent and a member of Starkville Rotary Club for 30 years. He has served on the Board of Palmer Home for Children for 28 years and is an Elder in First Presbyterian Church.


Lynne Richardson, new Dean of the College of Business and Industry at Mississippi State, is proposed by Clyde Herring for membership in Starkville Rotary Club. Prior to relocating to our community, Lynn was an active member of the Rotary Club of Muncie, Indiana. She has been approved by the membership/classification Committee and is hereby published by the Board for review by the membership. If no objections are presented within 7 days, she will be considered elected to membership in our club.

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