July 1, 2013 Rotogram: 1

Rotary Foundation Funds Service

The Rotary Foundation makes possible efforts to serve humanity. Larry Mullins, District Annual Giving Subcommittee chair, will explain its functions. Carey Hardin will introduce him.

Next Week: Economic development

Joey Deason is chief operating officer of LINK and vice president of Economic Development for Starkville and Oktibbeha County. He will be introduced by Steve Langston.

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

For the Record—June 24

Invocation and Pledge:            Giles Lindley

Attendance:                                        46.34%

Present — 85 (28 exempt)

Absent — 92 (16 exempt, 11 honorary)

Guests: Member guests were Prentiss Gordon, Jr. of Prentiss Gordon, Sr., Trish Cunetto of Sandra Harpole, Dan Moreland of Bricklee Miller, Julie Capella of Eddie Keith and Matt Matthews of Mike Cayson. Guests of the Club were Chip Reynolds and Kyle Jordan of Congressman Harper’s staff.

Giulia Returned Safely to Italy

President Debra reported that Youth Exchange student Giulia Martinoli made a safe trip home to Italy on June 22.

President-elect in Portugal

President-elect Brent is in Lisbon beginning his year’s duties at the Rotary International convention next week.

Club Web Site

The correct address for our Web site is starkvillerotary.org. We have had some confusion because of problems with the .com site.

Polio Plus Update

President Debra shared in the June 17 Rotary Minute that District Governor Danny Williams reported recently that great progress is being made through the PolioPlus program. New cases were down in all of the four areas in the world where polio is still found. In a recent one-week span, Afghanistan reported no new cases, Nigeria reported one, Pakistan reported four, and the Horn of African reported five. She encouraged Rotarians to continue supporting this program to eradicate polio in the world.

President Debra introduced Trey Breckenridge and John Forde, Rotary Classic Rodeo co-chairs, to present a check to Nellah Taylor for the Oktibbeha County Tuition Guarantee Program. Taylor said the $10,000 will provide tuition for about 20 students to attend East Mississippi Community College. Breckenridge said this year’s Rotary Classic Rodeo was very successful, attracting about 300 contestants from 30 states and three countries. Approximately 6,000-7,000 people attended the two-day event in February.

New Members Inducted

Six new Rotarians were given their membership charge by Frank Chiles, Member Induction Committee chair. They are Archie Anderson, Jennifer Gregory, Micah Huffman, Katherine Little, Nathan Moore and John Rigdon. New member Carey Edwards was between Kansas City and Omaha on his way to the College World Series.

Dues Structure Modified

Club dues were simplified by board action at its June meeting. The Strategic Planning Committee recommended that sustaining member donations be combined into quarterly dues effective today.

The rationale is that it . . .

  • Eases financial reporting burdens on the club treasurer.
  • Demonstrates the Starkville Rotary Club’s 100 percent commitment to furthering Rotary’s mission of doing good at home and around the world.
  • Simplifies the dues structure when communicating with new and potential members regarding expenses associated with being a Rotarian.

A similar streamlining action was taken several years ago when member meals and dues were combined in the quarterly statements. For 95 percent of members there will be no net change in the current amount paid. The remaining five percent of members will see a $25 per quarter increase.

A major portion of RI Foundation contributions return to the club and district in the form of service project grants.

Youth Exchange Needs Hosts

We need host families for our new RYE student, who arrives around August 1 for her year with us. The 16-year-old girl is sponsored by the Emmerich-Rees Rotary Club (D 1870).

Please suggest potential host families to Keith or Debra so they can make contacts.

Congressman Harper’s Special Special Interest

June 24 — “In Washington, you can just throw a stone and hit a controversy right now,” said Mississippi’s Third District Congressman Gregg Harper. “We’re in a divided government and I don’t think you’re going to see everybody get together and sing Kumbaya.”

But, he added that a lot of groups do get along, yet don’t get covered in the news. To illustrate his point, he highlighted his special interest — improving service to the disabled.

Although he is a Mississippi College graduate with an Ole Miss law degree, his two children have attended Mississippi State. His son Livingston, a rising junior, is the inspiration for his special interest.

“The love I have for my so called normal daughter is like any parent’s, but it’s hard to describe the love you have for a child with special needs,” he said.

Livingston was born with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges, and various physical conditions.

Three years ago, with one student MSU started the ACCESS Program for students with intellectual disabilities. Livingston was the second student the next year. Last year, five were enrolled. This year seven or eight students are expected.

Harper said if there is one person who is responsible for the program’s coming to pass and giving a lot of families hope it is Julie Capella, director of Student Support Services. She was recognized as a luncheon guest.

He also complimented Bulldog baseball players Kendall Graveman and Luis Pollorena who work with special needs kids on campus almost every day.

During his 27 years of law practice in Rankin County, his firm hired Pearl High School special ed students as office assistants. Soon after he arrived in DC, he initiated an internship program for college students with intellectual disabilities.

What started with five offices employing George Mason University students, has grown to a bipartisan effort in more than 20 house and senate offices.

“We’ve just finished the third year,” said the third term lawmaker. “And, we’re at the point where we’re almost having to tell the offices that are interested, ‘You may have to wait until next semester to get an intern.’”

Two students have gotten permanent jobs as a result of the program.

In April, he co-sponsored the Kids First Research Act to redirect the presidential election campaign fund income tax check-off to the National Institutes for Health. The bill allocates $130 million for pediatric research.

“No Republicans or Democrats used the $300 million fund in 2008 or 2012,” Harper said. “In 2012, only one third party candidate and the Libertarian candidate took funds. It just makes good sense to get rid of a program nobody’s using and give it to those that need it most.”

Addressing a couple of the myriad conflicts grabbing the headlines, he termed the situation with the Internal Revenue Service as “scary and dangerous.”

“They targeted Tea Party groups, conservative groups, some Jewish groups and some Christian groups that tried to get tax exempt status. But, I hope we would be just as upset if these were liberal groups,” he said. “It’s so contrary to what our government should be. The level of trust has been damaged.”

The latest Farm Bill was defeated in an oddly bipartisan vote where the Heritage Action PAC “key voted” it as a no vote. This led a number of conservatives to join the bill’s liberal opponents.        Harper explained that the PAC’s rationale was to soundly defeat the measure and get more reform later. But, he thinks the move actually weakened the plan.

He and his two Mississippi Republican colleagues voted for the plan that was supported by both the state and national Farm Bureau organizations.

“Was it perfect? No,” he said. “But it was an improvement that would have cut spending by $40 billion, eliminating about $20 billion related to food stamps.”

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