May 18, 2009 Rotogram

FEDERAL JUDICIARY

Federal District Judge Sharion Aycock from Aberdeen speaks to us today. A Mississippi State University alumna, she became the 14th appointee to Mississippi’s Northern District bench in 2007.

MEMORIAL DAY

Observing Memorial Day, we will not meet next week.

AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE

Lester Spell, in his third term as Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, will address Mississippi’s largest business at our June 1 meeting. Mississippi agriculture and forestry earn about $6 billion annually in cash receipts.

LAST WEEK

Invocation and Pledge: Sammy Slaughter

Attendance: There were 115 members (36 exempt) present, and 85 (19 exempt, 10 honorary) absent.

Guests and visitors: Visiting Rotarian guests of  Jack Forbus were Chuck Jordan, DG-elect from Greenville, Roscoe Greene, DG-elect-designee from Rankin Co., Barbara Travis, Rankin Co., Joel Clements, DG from Waynesboro, and Betty Jo Dulaney, past DG 6800.   Members’ guests included Marie Antoon, Sherry Johnson, Melissa Tenhet, Tonya Adkins and Jill Dent of Jack Forbus, Greg Word of Kim Richardson, Bryan Lott of Bill Simmons, Ike Hopper of Mike McGrevey, Jennifer Glaze and Allison Matthews of Jon Maynard, Harry Howell of Matt Cox, and Nancy McCarley of Donna Reese. Guests of the Club were Chip Reynold, Stanley Shows, Steve Guyton, Livingston Harper, Taka Sato, Youth Exchange Student, Paul Sims, Starkville Daily News, and, Jarred Reneau, Ambassadorial Cultural Scholar.

Makeup: Bob Daniels in Altoona, Penn.

Youth Exchange: President Chip noted that Taka’s days as our exchange student are drawing to a close. His current host mom, Rotarian Lynn Richardson, reminded members that he is available for “fun and educational experiences” and to let her know what is available.

PAUL HARRIS FELLOWS

Robert Clark, Annual Giving chair, presented the year’s last two Paul Harris Fellowships to Lynn Richardson and Scott Dodd. He reminded members that there are funds to help Rotarians complete their PH contributions and to contact him if they are interested. President Chip noted that, once again, our club has earned the Every Rotarian Every Year designation.

BETWEEN THE LIONS

Past District Governor Forbus didn’t just invite a bunch of his Rotary buddies for lunch; he had them in town to work. In the morning before the weekly meeting, the Between the Lions working group met at the Bost Extension Center on the MSU campus to map out the next year’s strategy. Rotary officers from Districts 6820 and 6800 joined with Mississippi Public Broadcasting officials who are providing the curriculum and MSU Extension staff who are providing instruction to childcare centers in the literacy project.

President Chip reminded the Club that we are leaders in the literacy effort sponsoring two local daycare centers. As part of our long range plan, we are prepared to support all 26 licensed Oktibbeha County centers with reading instruction for 4– and 5-year-olds.

U.S. CONGRESS

First-term U.S. Representative Greg Harper gave his assessment of the current Washington scene at last week’s meeting.
The Rankin County lawyer was elected to Congress last November to represent Mississippi’s third district. Serving on the Republican steering committee, Harper also serves on the house administration, budget and judiciary committees.
Before reporting his political observations, he introduced two local appointees to U.S. military academies. Jim Giesemann will attend the Naval Academy and Matt Savage will attend West Point. The Starkville High seniors are Eagle Scouts in Rotary’s Troop 14. They were accompanied by parents Ruth Giesemann, and John and Christie Savage.
“It’s great to be reporting from a short-term point-of-view,” said Harper. “Right now I’m not getting blamed; but, it’s coming.”
He noted that April 26 was “debt day” when Federal government ran out of money for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. For the next four months, the country will run on borrowed funds.
“Are we out of our minds?” he asked. “When I was first married, my wife Sidney found a cross-stitch pattern that says it well — ‘There’s no doubt about the outcome if you live above your income.’”
“Since I’ve been in Washington, I’ve been amazed at the hypocrisy, and it’s not limited to one party,” he said. “We all ought to be worried about it whether Republican or Democrat.”
Harper voted against the $787 billion stimulus bill because it created 33 new Federal government programs. In contrast to the millions of layoffs across the U.S, about 66,000 Federal jobs will be created.
Expressing concern about nuclear arms instability related to Pakistan and possibly North Korea, he regretted the $1.4 billion cuts in missile defense projects.
Harper told his audience to be on the lookout for two significant issues in the coming months: health care, and cap and trade. On the health scene, he wants to ensure freedom of choice. On the carbon cap and trade issue, he stresses the importance of energy independence.

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