Service Above Self

Meetings: 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM at

Local Roots
817 E. 66th Street
Richfield, MN  55423
The Richfield Rotary Relaunch continues with three additional applications for full or shared membership.
Katie Rodriguez (1st Announcement) – Katie (right) is the Richfield City Manager and is applying for an Organizational Membership, with various representatives of the City of Richfield sharing participation in club meetings and activities, depending on the focus.  She and her husband, Rudy, have two children, Anna and Sofia.  Tennis is a favorite non-work activity.   Katie “would like to see legacy civic organizations thrive in Richfield,” and hopes her connections with the City of Richfield will help the club’s relaunch.  Katie hopes to be inducted into membership on October 17.
Marta Shahsavand (1st Announcement) – Marta (left) is the Principal of Richfield Dual Language School, and would like to share a membership with Latanya Daniels, Principal of Richfield High School.  Latanya is already a member and will remain the “official” member.  However, with a shared membership, Latanya and Marta will share participation in club meetings and activities.  Marta would like to be inducted as a shared member on October 17. 
Jared Shepherd (2nd Announcement) – Jared’s application was initially announced in September 17 communication to the club.   Unless there are objections, Jared (left) would like to be brought into membership on October 3.  Background information about Jared is included above in the October 3 Meeting Reminder.
Other applications approved for membership following two announcements include Maria Regan Gonzalez (shared membership with Simon Trautmann) and Brandt Krueger.  All three will be inducted into membership on October 17.
The Richfield Rotary Relaunch will benefit from the ideas, enthusiasm, and community connections each of these individuals will bring to the club!   Please welcome them!
Richfield Rotarian Barb Devlin and former members Sally Parks and Gay Greiter attended a July 16 benefit for Nari Gunjan, ("woman's voice”) a not-for-profit organization that provides education, literacy, vocational training, healthcare, advocacy and life skills for Dalit (“untouchables” caste) girls and women. 
The funds raised will enable girls served by Nari Gunjan to participate in educational programs provided by Aavishkaar, the educational organization founded by Bloomington Rotarian Sandhya Gupta and her husband (pictured at left) to nurture “curious, critical and creative thinking” and to spark a “joyful relationship with math and science.”  
Richfield Rotary and other Area Three Rotary Clubs are among many organizations that have contributed to several grant projects developed and overseen by Sandhya Gupta over the past several years, including educational programs for Dalit girls.
The Richfield Bandshell opened on June 9 with great fanfare!  Richfield Rotary and individual Rotarians were recognized for their financial contributions, and former member David Butler was dubbed “Richfield’s Own Music Man” for his tireless fund-raising efforts.   The family of the late Gertrude Ulrich, a civic leader and member of Rotary, was recognized for their contributions to a garden by the bandshell in Gertrude’s memory.  Area cub scouts, led by Rotarian Hae Kyung Thompson, presented the colors.  And on top of the celebrating, there was terrific music by members of the Peterson family, the Richfield Symphonic Band, and the Northern Winds Band.

The Rotary Club of Richfield MN has been serving the Richfield community for over 60 years.   We are neighbors, friends and community leaders who come together for networking, fun, and to create positive, lasting change in the Richfield area and around the world.  We are part of an international network of 35,000 Rotary Clubs with 1.2 million members worldwide, reaching across boundaries to expand our impact.  

As club members have retired and / or moved away, fewer Richfield Rotarians have maintained direct connections to Richfield, making it more difficult to effectively serve the community. 

A “Richfield Rotary Relaunch” is now underway, with a focus on creating what will essentially be a new club with members that live, work and/ or do business in Richfield.  Under the Rotary International umbrella, the new club will set its own schedule and determine its own goals and activities, based on members’ interests and personal commitments. 

Informational and planning meetings will take place this summer, in preparation for a formal Relaunch in September, 2019.   Updates and scheduled meetings will be posted on the web at richfieldrotary.org and on the Rotary Club of Richfield Facebook page. 

For more information or to get on the relaunch e-mail list, contact Barbara Devlin or Chip Groth.   

Following is the first quarter meeting and activity schedule agreed upon at the June 13 Club Assembly, including four club meetings, service projects, Relaunch information meetings, and the official Relaunch and Installation of New Members:

Club Meeting Schedule

  • Four meetings, 7:30 – 8:30 AM on the following Thursdays:  June 27, July 11, August 15, September 12
  • Location – Local Roots, 817 E 66th St, Richfield, MN 55423
  • The July 11, August 15 and September 12 meetings will provide an opportunity for debriefing and planning regarding the relaunch.  Programs will be Rotary and club-related.

Club Service Activities

  • Continue Bread of Hope  -  See “Richfield Rotary in Service” article for a list of volunteers to date and open sign-up slots.
  • The Club will conduct at least one service project during the first quarter.  See July 11 meeting highlights for details regarding the selected project.

Relaunch Information Meetings

  • Attendance:  Richfield Rotarians plus anyone interested in the Richfield Rotary Relaunch
  • Four information meetings planned to date: 
    • Thursday, June 20, 5:30 – 6:30 PM, Local Roots
    • July 24, 7-8 PM, City Hall, Bartholomew Room 
    • Thursday, August 22, 7:30 – 8:30 AM, Local Roots
    • Wednesday, September 11, 3:45 - 4:45 PM, Central Education Center, 7145 Harriet Ave So., Multi-purpose Room

Richfield Rotarians are encouraged to attend the Relaunch Information meetings.  Please RSVP your attendance to Barb Devlin.  

Formal Relaunch and Installation of New Members – Tuesday, September 24, 5:30 – 7:00 PM (Location TBD)

Richfield Rotarians - Please plan to attend this important meeting!
Saturday, May 11, was "Build Day" for Richfield Rotary's Little Free Library Project.  Rotary members and LFL recipients worked side by side at the Richfield Arts Commission building at Veterans Park, painting, adding doors and roofs to partially completed LFLs.  Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez stopped by, as did two members of the Richfield Arts Commission.  The smiles reflected happiness all around!  
Installation of the LFLs is scheduled the morning of June 1.
Our heartiest congratulations to Richfield Rotarian and New Dad Chris Walsh and his wife Denise on the birth of their new baby boy, Hayes! 
(Editor's comment:  Hayes looks like a serious mini-Chris, but without the hat!!)
Barb Devlin was among about 300 Rotarians in attendance at the January 26 Mid-Term Assembly.  As District Governor Irene Kelly welcomed everyone, Rotarians made donations to Polio Plus.   District 5950 Polio Plus Chair, Tim Mulcrone (right), happily placed Barb's contribution into his "Year of the Pig Polio Plus Bank."
Keynote speaker, Dr. Ramon Pastrano (left), helped participants explore how the limitations of our knowledge and experience contribute to “unconscious bias.”  He encouraged us to seek out the perspectives of others, adding, “We cannot lead in a multicultural world with mono-cultural mindsets.”
The Mid-term Assembly also included an Information and Sharing Fair highlighting District 5950 and club projects and activities, including a new Leadership Fellows program that will launch in September 2019.  Barb hopes that Richfield Rotarians will be part of a future District Assembly to share information our Little Free Library project!


A posting about our Little Free Library project in the Richfield Community Page has generated 50 responses to date, including 
expressions of interest in receiving a LFL and offers to help with construction and /or contribute financially.
A proposal is being finalized for submission to District 5950 for funding to assist with the project.  The posting reads as follows:
The Richfield Rotary club is developing a Little Free Library (LFL) project that will offer a limited number of LFL's available for installation late spring early summer of 2019. The club is looking for feedback from the community as to interest in the project. The LFL's will be available for a small nominal fee (as yet to be determined) so that individuals/owners will be invested in the project. A "LFL assembly day" will be scheduled and interested community members can assist with the final assembly of the LFL's (basically screwing them together and painting, all the parts will be pre-cut to size). Richfield Rotary believes the project will promote literacy and add to the overall welcoming appearance of the city/neighborhood. Comments and or expressed interest can be made below or by messaging the club through our Facebook page at Rotary Club of Richfield Minnesota.


At left is the "deluxe" model of the Little Free Library, which will be raffled off to help provide additional funds for the project. Thanks to Jay Clark for contributing his time and talent!

Richfield Rotary designates one meeting per month for an evening service project / social.  Our service project for January 2019 was helping the Latino Resource organization, MIRA, with its Reyes Magos (Three Kings) celebration on January 4.  Richfield Rotarians and spouses who helped out included Jay Clark and Chris Walsh (two of the maji!), Bridget Clark, Barb and John Devlin, Chip and Deanna Groth, and Dave and Joan Melcher. 
MIRA’s treasurer Rosa Rubio reported attendance of about 400 children and adults and added, “Great work everyone!!!  Our most sincere appreciation to all the Rotarians that helped and donated for this event!!! It would not have been possible without all of you!”  The photos provide clear evidence that everyone present - including the volunteers - had a lot of fun!
Seven Richfield Rotarians were joined by Richfield High School Assistant Principal Teresa Rosen and six RHS juniors at the 9th annual Rotary Area 3 Vocational Ethics Day, at Edina Country Club.  Over lunch, Rotarians and guests discussed questions relating to ethical behavior.  Keynote speaker Jerome Mayne explained how his own fraudulent behavior in the real estate loan business resulted in his imprisonment for two years.   Once driven by greed, Mayne learned the hard way that crime doesn’t pay! 
Thanks to Chip Groth for representing Richfield Rotary on the VE Day planning committee. 
On Saturday, December 8, Richfield Rotarians
joined many other volunteers and dance enthusiasts at the seventh annual Heart of Dance team match, which brought together children from classrooms around the state.   Richfield Rotarians registered schools, handed out programs, pinned team sashes and color names on dancers, and helped manage dancers in the "on deck" area.  President Kirsten Nielsen was one of the event sponsors.  Thanks to Kirsten, Jay Clark, Pat Dale, Barb and John Devlin, and Jay Clark for supporting these young dancers!
As our November service project, we inserted Rotary donation labels
in the front of dictionaries to be presented over the next several weeks to all third grade students in Richfield public, non-public and home schools.   Thanks to Jean Fox for processing the dictionary order, Lynne Alexander for obtaining the donation labels, and to HaeKyung Thompson, Dictionary Project Chair.  See the “Richfield Rotary in Service” section below for more information about the Dictionary Project and when volunteers are needed for delivery to schools.


Thursday, October 19, 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM, Local Roots, 817 E 66th St, Richfield, MN 55423

(Order lunch if desired, sign in and network from 11:30 - 11:45 AM; Meeting starts at 11:45 AM)

Thought for the Week:  John DeBettignies

Introduction of Guests and Happy Dollars:  John Devlin

Induction of New Members 

A “Richfield Rotary Relaunch” commenced this summer with the goal of creating what will essentially be a “new” Richfield Rotary Club with a majority of members who live, work, and / or do business in the Richfield area.   New members will be inducted over time as applications are received and approved by the membership.  Two new members are scheduled for induction at the October 3 meeting:  Lou Dzierzak and Jared Shepherd
Lou Dzierzak (right) is a free lance writer who lives in Richfield with his wife, Carey, and school-aged children Emily and Jack.  Lou also has two adult children, Taylor and Claire.   Hobbies and special interests include outdoor recreation and reading.  Lou has served on the Friends of Woodlake Board of Directors and as a coach of several youth sports teams.
Jared Shepherd (left) is a Richfield resident and attorney with Hoff Barry P.A., practicing in areas of municipal government, business law, and general civil litigation.  Jared also has an active pro bono practice, including representation of individuals seeking asylum in the United States, and has expressed interest in opportunities for international service through Rotary.  Jared and his wife, Katie, have one daughter, Vivian. 

Business / Action Items

  • Community Service:  Continuation of Dictionary Project for Fall 2019
  • International Service:  Proposed participation in Uganda International Project
  • Status of Richfield Rotary Foundation / Fund-raising


  • Annual Veterans Day Luncheon sponsored by Area 3 Rotary Clubs – November 11, Edina Country Club (See upcoming events for details).  RSVP and lunch payment to John Devlin ($26 per person); check payable to Richfield Rotary Club.   (Note:  RBCU is willing to cover the luncheon cost for up to 3 (non-member) veterans.  Please notify John DeBettignies if you know a veteran you’d like to invite.)
  • Rotary Initiative to End Human Trafficking  - Check out new website for details.
A reminder that the Veterans Day Luncheon on Monday, November 12, 11:15 AM at the Bloomington Hilton will take the place of our regular Thursday AM meeting.  Our special guest will be Jay Nielsen (far left), a Vietnam Veteran and the father of member HaeKyung Thompson.   
See Upcoming Events for more event details.
Richfield Rotary collected some feedback from Richfield residents at Penn Fest, and would like to continue collecting feedback via an online survey.  Thanks to Alyssa Swanson for posting the survey in an online format, with a link that will appear on our Richfield Rotary Facebook page, web page, and the Richfield Community Page.  Please feel free to forward the following link to any Richfield resident you think might be interested in responding:
Tommy Thompson’s daughter, Patty Gourley, informed us that her Dad has been hospitalized three times since August and is now back in rehab.  He will not be going back to his apartment, and the family is "in the process of trying to find a place with more care for him.”  Patti thanked Chip Groth for staying in touch on behalf of Richfield Rotary, and "will let Tommy know we are interested in how he is doing."   Please keep Tommy in your thoughts and prayers.  Click here if you wish to send a message to Tommy via his daughter, Patty. 

Sunday, september 15, 1-5 pm

Open Streets at Penn Fest is a day to explore the Penn Central neighborhood in Richfield.   Traffic will be off the street and replaced by fun activities like music, dance, food, sports, games, pet exhibits and more.   Penn Avenue will be closed to traffic from 62nd to 76th Streets, with activites and exhibitors from 62nd to 71st Streets.
Richfield Rotary and Optimists will be sharing a table.  We'll need two Rotarians for each of two shifts,  12:45 - 3 PM (including help with set-up), and 3PM - 5:15 PM (including help with clean-up).  One volunteer will apply temporary tattoos to children, while the 2nd volunteer will share information with their about the Richfield Rotary Relaunch and our new meeting schedule.  Click here to volunteer for one or both shifts.  Thank you!

Thought for the Week, Happy Dollars and Announcements

  • Recently, one of Jay Clark's patients told him about the eastern Indian holiday, Diwali.  See the Thought for the Week section for inspiration from Diwali, "the festival of lights."
  • John Devlin shared greetings from our most senior member, Tommy Thompson.  Tommy  is currently residing at Tower Light Senior Living,  3601 Wooddale Ave S, St Louis Park, MN 55416, and welcomes visitors!
  • HaeKyung Thompson is in the process of scheduling dictionary deliveries to 3rd graders in all Richfield schools.  Stay tuned for more details and a chance to volunteer.
  • Chip Groth shared that the student Richfield Rotary sponsored for Camp Enterprise was selected as the CEO of her team’s company!  The student and her DECA advisor will be invited to a future club meeting.
  • Chip is arranging for distribution of hats and mittens to the Richfield Schools.
  • President Kirsten Nelson proposed that Richfield Rotary provide volunteer assistance at an upcoming Heart of Dance “Colors of the Rainbow Team Match,” on Saturday, December 8, as our December volunteer project.   There was general agreement, with 11 AM – 1PM as the preferred volunteer time slot.  Kirsten will confirm and get back to us with more details.

Program:  Barb Devlin - “Unraveling the Mysteries of ClubRunner”

Barb Devlin introduced members to ClubRunner, the online platform used by Rotary International, District 5950, and Richfield Rotary to facilitate information-sharing, communications, and record-keeping.  Her goal was to get all members signed on, check and edit their personal profile, access the club member directory, and learn now to send e-mails to club members through ClubRunner.  Denny Fox, our club web master and all-around tech guru, was on hand to assist.
Unfortunately, the ClubRunner tech department chose precisely the time of the presentation to perform some ClubRunner servicing, which made the application inaccessible!  As a further complication, the "Links" feature of ClubRunner is not active at the moment, so Barb was unable to create a link to the presentation outline, which provides step-by-step instructions for doing the activities on your own.  As soon as this feature is active, Barb will e-mail it or include it in a future e-Spokester.

Reminder:  November 8, 2018 Morning Meeting, 7:15 - 8:30 AM, Richfield / Bloomington Honda 2nd floor Boardroom

Thought for the Week:  Jay Clark

Greeter and Happy Dollars:  Jean Fox

Program:  Barb Devlin, "Unraveling the Mysteries of ClubRunner!" 

At a recent Club Assembly, several members acknowledged that they had never logged in to the Club or District 5950 websites using Club Runner.  Barb Devlin will show members how to log in, check, and edit your personal profile information, and will highlight information you can access in the "Members Only" section of the Club and District websites.  PLEASE BRING YOUR LAPTOP SO YOU CAN GET HELP LOGGING IN.   (Note:  Members who are experienced with ClubRunner will be put to work helping other members, so everyone should attend!)

Saint Paul Saints Game a Hit!

The Saint Paul Saints may have lost the game, but Richfield Rotarians had fun despite the score! 
Thanks to Jay Clark for organizing a great celebration of Chip Groth’s two years as President of Richfield Rotary.   The Groths and Devlins arrived by light rail, where they joined several other Rotarians and spouses for a pre-game libation and food at the Ox Cart Ale House.
The entire group convened at the Saint Paul Saints ball park. We were joined by Lloyd Campbell, District 5950 Membership Chair, who is a member of the Glenwood Rotary Club but was in town visiting his son. 
Thanks for two years of dedicated leadership, Chip!


Thanks to Jay Clark for organizing what sounds like a wonderful Past President's celebration for Thursday, August 30.  Details from Jay are as follows:

Thanks for showing your support for Chip’s past two years of service. I’m looking forward to the venue and hopeful for a beautiful evening of baseball.

I have either given you the tickets personally or emailed them ( forwarded via the Saints web site)  to you so you all should have your tickets in hand. Please contact me if you have not received your tickets.


Pre-game social 5:15-6:45 p.m.:

                Ox Cart Ale House

                255 6th Street E

Ox Cart Ale House has a nice roof-top seating area and Chip likes the food. Close to CHS Field (3 blocks). Check out their web site- oxcartalehouse.com

Enjoy a pre-game beverage, dinner or just hang out. We’ll meet on the roof-top… if the weather looks iffy I’ll reserve a table inside. I could not reserve a large table for the roof top. 

If you can’t make to the pre-game social we will see you at CHS Field.


Saints vs. Dogs: 7:05 game time

                CHS Field

                360 N Broadway Street

We are sitting next to each other or at least nearby(row 16-17-18). A few are nine rows down in row 9. Consider rotating around after a few innings…somebody new to talk to and you may enjoy a better seat.



Options are-

Light rail via the Green Line. From the U of MN East Bank Station it is about a 40 min train ride. From the MOA it is about one hour and 15 mins (Blue Line downtown Mpls then transfer to Green Line). Will only cost you $2.50 each way.  (Note:  Chip recommends the 4 PM train from MOA.)

Car pool- I’ll leave that up to individuals to work out on their own.

Drive your car- multiple parking options near the stadium and Ox Cart Ale. There is a ramp right next to Ox Cart Ale on the corner of 6th and Wall. Surface lots on Broadway and both 5th or 6th streets.



If you have not already paid me you can send me a check, Venmo me, or settle up with cash at next Thursdays meeting. Venmo is easy and convenient. Cost per ticket is $16.



At our June 21 meeting, Nominating Committee member Dave Melcher announced that Dr. Kirsten Nelson has agreed to serve as Richfield Rotary Club President in 2018-2019! 
After the cheering and congratulations died down, Kirsten was elected unanimously, and outgoing President Chip Groth presented her with the 2018-2019 Rotary International banner to make it official! 
Kirsten shared that she made the decision after speaking with one of her chiropractor colleagues who will be serving as President of the Excelsior Rotary Club this year.  When Kristen asked him how he would fit it in, he told her, “Oh, I’ll just squeeze it in amidst everything else I do!”  After some soul-searching, Kirsten made her decision, saying "I love Rotary and thought it was important to step up."
Chip Groth will be honored for his two years of service as President at a future soiree.  Kirsten said, “Maybe we can have the party at our house, so we can also inaugurate our new deck!”  Stay tuned for details in a future e-Spokester.
President Chip Groth and Barb Devlin joined over 260 Rotarians from across District 5950 at the Mid-Term Assembly, the largest attendance ever for this event.  They heard from District Governor Bob Hallagan, who highlighted contributions of District leaders and clubs.  They visited booths in the Rotary Showcase, attended in-depth breakout sessions on topics of interest, and were inspired by KSTP sportscaster Joe Schmit, who shared stories from his book, Silent Impact: Stories of Influence Through Purpose, Persistence, & Passion
Barb Devlin attended two break-out sessions, each opening the door to possibilities for Richfield Rotary:

"People of Action: Join the Campaign"

While “Service Above Self” is the long-standing motto of Rotary International, the “People of Action” campaign highlights Rotarians being active in service.  Rotary International has resources for clubs to use to show club members actively engaged:  connecting, inspiring, transforming, or helping to end polio.  Local clubs are encouraged to use these resources to “tell our story,” e.g. in our newsletter, website, Facebook page, or the local community page.  The Branding Center tool kit is available at myRotary.org. 

“The Opioid Epidemic:  Time to Act” 

Josh Sprague, Rotary Club of Edina, introduced the session, noting that marketing of opioids by big pharma over the past 20 years has resulted in a nation-wide epidemic.  “Death due to opioids is now the leading cause of death for people under age 50, and a third of the population is susceptible to becoming addicted.”  Three impressive panelists joined Josh in the presentation.
Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek observed, “People start on prescription opioids, get addicted, and then move to street drugs.   In Minnesota, there were 400 opioid-related deaths in 2015 and the opioid-related death rate in Hennepin County has doubled from 2015 to 2017.”
Lexi Reed Holtum, Executive Director of the Steve Rummler Hope Network,  described the “disease of addiction” that lead to the death of husband and father Steve Rummler and so many others.  She thanked Edina and other area Rotary clubs for providing funding for a 2017 TPT documentary video.  (Click here to watch excerpts.)  https://vimeo.com/rummlerhope
Rob Reynolds, Director of Advocacy, Verde Technologies (shown at left), noted that unused opioids sitting in our medicine cabinets are a tempting target.  He handed out a “Deterra” packet  to each attendee, a “safe, convenient, and effective way to deactivate drugs,”  and suggested that local Rotary clubs could fund the purchase and distribution of these packets within the community, e.g. as part of the National Night Out event.  He noted that the packet could be printed to include the name of the sponsoring Rotary Club.


Sprague concluded by saying that the Edina Club remains committed to combatting the opioid crisis.  Their 2018 Action Plan is set up an online curriculum ($9200) and an interactive website and video intended for HS students.   Participating clubs would have access to and be able to promote the resource in their own communities.  Edina has a grant proposal for a District match, but would like other clubs to participate for as little as $100. 

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