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Lawrence Central Rotary Inducts New Members

New members (from left) Karena Schmitendorf, Gena Dellett, Julia Gaughan, Janis Bunker, Lee Ann Thompson, and Margaret Brumberg.

Lawrence Central Rotary celebrated the club’s new members on September 5. The following new members were inducted:  Karena Schmitendorf, Gena Dellett, Julia Gaughan, Janis Bunker, Lee Ann Thompson, and Margaret Brumberg.

L-R: Julia Gaughan, Margaret Brumberg, and Karena Schmitendorf

The three newest members, Julia Gaughan, Karena Schmitendorf, and Margaret Brumberg shared more about their background and interests during the now traditional new member panel.

Julia Gaughan studied law and works at Bert Nash. Her most recent read was There There by Tommy Orange. Audrey Coleman invited Julia to Rotary. The two have been friends since college. Volunteering has always been important to Julia. She shared that she’s excited to be around people who find service important. For fun, Julia reads, writes, is involved in several book clubs, and attends a lot of soccer games, cheering on her 10 year old son.

Margaret Brumberg studied law and administers federal grants at KU. Her most recent read was Amateur by Thomas Page McBee. Kate Campbell invited Margaret to Rotary. She was immediately inspired by the service mission. For fun Margaret enjoys being outside, taking walks, and drinking wine.

Karena Schmitendorf is a retired art instructor and now works combining three of her passions: art, elderly care, and transitional housing. She has recently been reading books on death and dying, integrating her learning into her daily work. While living in California, Karena regularly presented to Rotary clubs about her work with a homeless and housing group. She is especially drawn to Rotary’s international focus. For fun Karena enjoys gardening, cooking, and her work renovating a house. She also is enjoying the many art galleries and events in Lawrence.

Catholic Charities Helps Refugees Put Down New Roots

Denise Ogilvie from Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas knows what refugees face when they are starting over their lives. The organization’s refugee and immigration services, which is qualified through the State Department, provides refugee resettlement and support.

Ogilvie explained that their team is given 24 hours notice when a new refugee family will be arriving. Most refugees have been in a camp for 10 or more years. “Families come here with children that were born in a camp and are now college age. The children have never lived anywhere else.”

The Catholic Charities team meets the families at the airport and takes them to an apartment outfitted with all the basics they will need to start their new life.

With funding from the State Department, Catholic Charities works together with the families for six months to find employment and help them get settled. Thanks to the New Roots for Refugees program, support no longer ends there. New Roots builds on the strengths and experience that the refugees already possess, helping them start their own small farm businesses growing and selling vegetables. This means that refugee families can continue to support themselves and their families with the agricultural skills they gained in their native country.

“For many, this was their sole source of income in their original country. With a plot to farm, they now grow food they may not have eaten before.” The program also provides resources on how to market the produce that is grown and how to manage their finance and business.

The programs current plot in Juniper Gardens in KC Kansas provides everyone in the program with a one acre plot. Produce is sold in 27 farmers markets and restaurants. The program lasts for four years. Currently 85 percent of participants purchase a small plot of land to keep farming after completing the program.

“We try to not only help people in the middle of crisis,” said Ogilvie. “We believe in order to give dignity we need to help people stand on their own two feet so they are self sufficient.”

Andy Rodan Makes the Case for Solar


Andy Rondon from Good Energy Solutions

The next time it’s overcast, you may think differently about the sun’s rays. Kansas is currently one of the top ten states for solar power, either “slightly above or below Florida, depending on who you ask,” says Andy Rodan from Good Energy Solutions.

Rodan is living “every solar guy’s dream.” He was originally trained as a civil engineer and recently received his NABCEP certification, which is the solar industry’s leading recognition of technical sales expertise. He proudly drives a solar-powered car and nestles under his solar roof each night.

Rodan’s work at Good Energy Solutions paves a way for residential and commercial clients to take advantage of solar energy. Good Energy Solutions, based out of Lawrence, was named one of the top 25 solar contractors nationwide by Solar Power World Magazine and installed the most solar in Kansas in 2017.

Rodan explained that there are two types of energy production: Centralized and Distributed. Centralized energy production is the status quo, with large energy plants powering multiple cities. Solar breaks this model, with energy being made and used in the same area. “Creating energy where it is being used means you don’t need to have transmission lines like we have now. It changes the infrastructure that’s needed.”

The core of solar technology has not changed significantly since 1989. “We’re just better at manufacturing it,” says Rodan. Instead, the majority of research and development dollars are being spent on improving battery technology. “Once we do batteries better, we don’t need coal or natural gas. When this happens the world is going to be a lot different,” says Rodan. “The amount of energy dumped on the planet is mind boggling.”

Solar modules last 20 years with a 30 to 40 year potential. Current rates mean it takes about 10 years for a customer to get their money back. New potential rates could push that to 15 years.

That shouldn’t deter potential customers. To the question of “Why go solar now if there will be a new technology in the next five to 10 years, Rodan replied “If your generating all or most of your own energy now, what is the benefit of the next technology? You already have that.”

DG Parks Shares Her Enthusiasm for Rotary

District Governor Blanche Parks visited Lawrence Central Rotary, demonstrating abundant enthusiasm and commitment for her Rotary leadership responsibilities.

DG Parks joined the Downtown Topeka Rotary Club in 1999, serving as president in 2012.  She also served as Assistant District Governor and District Trainer. She was instrumental in establishing the first Rotary Leadership Institute for the District.

Parks worked for the State of Kansas managing and directing various state agencies. She is most proud of developing the Kansas Learning Quest 529 College Savings Plan.  Governor Parks serves on numerous boards and is very active in the Topeka community.

Her plans for the coming year include raising Rotary’s public image, a focus on utilizing technologies that are appealing to young people, increasing giving to the Foundation, and increasing club membership.

In closing, Governor Parks urged Rotarians to ”Recognize achievement, celebrate and have fun.”

Lawrence Fall Community Bike Ride Set for Sept 15th

We’ve reserved the space, got the sponsors, now we need you to come out and enjoy our second 2018 Lawrence Community Bike Ride.

Here’s what we’ve got on tap for this year’s event from 10:00-12:00 at the Haskell Indian Nations Stadium parking lot:

  • Family Friendly Bike Ride With Safety
  • Kids Helmet fitting
  • Safety Vest Giveaway
  • Training Wheel Takeoff Area
  • Bike Checkup & Maintenance area
  • Healthy Snack Zone provided by The Merc
  • The always popular Lawrence Kids Calendar Kids Inflatable Zone!

The ride will be on Lawrence’s Burroughs Creek Trail which is a great, smooth concrete multi-use path that is wonderful for beginners as well as seasoned riders to have a safe place to ride and enjoy Lawrence’s Eastside.

Thanks to all our sponsors these annual events just get better and better.

All riders must fill out a release you can download one from this LINK.

(We’ll have them on hand too.)

Get this on your calendar! We look forward to seeing you!


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