Monday, February 24, 2014

Washington School Finances

It was great to hear from Rotarian and Washington Community School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen talk about Washington School Budget and Finances.

Dr. Mike Jorgensen
Mike told us that Washington is experiencing increasing enrollment (approaching 1,800) and has had significantly declining levy rates.

Click on the Tax Rate graphic below or here to download or view a PDF of Mike's presentation.

Mike told the club that if voters approve the April 1st referendum of $1.1 million for the $7.3 million auditorium, that tax payers will still have a lower tax levy than last year. He said the $1.1 million for the auditorium would be paid off in 7 years. He said the rest of the funding is from private donations and grants, which is pretty remarkable.


As a follow up to their Rotary program several weeks ago, don't forget to check out the 23rd Annual Photo Artistry Exhibit entitled "Alaska via Canada" by Lyle Moen & (Rotarian) Nancy Rash is on display at the Washington Public Library, Helen Wilson Gallery from February 24 through March 28. The exhibit features rivers, lakes, mountains, glaciers, wildlife, interviews and more. Come take a look!

Thanks to everyone that helped at the Blood Drive last week!


February 27:  Matt Miller - Dan Franz, GM at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
March 6:  Don Vittetoe - Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture (have you invited a guest?)
March 13: Terry Engleken - TBA
March 20: Club Forum!
March 27: Kathy Salazar - TBA

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


We heard all about Fairfield's world record in 2013 for having 1,800 people doning fake mustaches to greet 20,000 RAGBRAI riders cycling into town last July.

It was nice to see Rotary catch a little of that spirit, while learning some great info about the Fairfield Art & Convention Center in downtown Fairfield.

Rotarians in disguise
Emily Johnson?

Young Mr. Johnson
Don't forget to invite a guest for Ag Day on March 6th! Don Vittetoe has arranged for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey to be our special speaker. Let Don know of your invited guest(s) at 653-6718 or


February 20, 7am: Board Meeting @ WCHC
February 20: Mike Jorgensen - Washington School Budget
February 20: BLOOD DRIVE 1:30 - 6:30 @ UP Church
February 27: Matt Miller - Dan Franz, GM of Riverside Casino
March 6th: Don Vittetoe - AG DAY w/ Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Ag

Thanks to Halcyon House's Applewood Bistro for catering our lunches in February. March is Cafe Dodici!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Live Healthy Iowa

Thanks to Steve Slaubaugh for inviting Erin Rugg to speak about the Live Healthy Iowa challenge. Erin is the office manager at (Rotarian Eric Turner's) JET Physical Therapy clinic.

Steve Slaubaugh (L) and Erin Rugg (R)

Erin is also a key leader in the Washington County Obesity Prevention Task Force. They've spearheaded worksite wellness initiatives, several Safe Routes to School plans, student led gardens, and other stuff.


Erin gave us some sobering facts about obesity in Iowa.
  • 30% of adult Iowans are obese
  • Sixteen years ago, it was only 16% 
  • HALF of Iowa's school-age children are overweight or obese
  • A THIRD of Iowa's 2-5 year olds are overweight or obese


Gov. Terry Branstad began this initiative to move Iowa up the ladder towards being the healthiest state in the nation. The state's initiative has three components:



  • Free 10-week challenge
  • January 27 - April 4
  • 60 minutes a day, 5x a week
  • Kids track their veggies, fruit, milk, water & screen time
  • participate in lots of activities locally and around the State
  • Last year, Mid-Prairie placed 1st in the K-12 Cup Challenge, and Highland was 3rd! (out of 21 schools)


  • 10 week challenge - $20 per person
  • starts January 27 - April 4 -- still time to register a team!!
  • 2-10 people on a team -- last year, 49 teams in Washington County
  • track activity minutes and/or weight loss
  • participate in lots of activities locally and around the State
  • YOUR BUSINESS COULD SPONSOR A TEAM (and get reports on how your employees are doing...)


Due to a reoccurring editorial oversight, there was no Rotary E-Newsletter last week. We apologize for the inconvenience in the event you endlessly checked your in-box, and double checking your junk mail mailbox to see if it ended up there.

What happened January 30th was that retired Washington Jr. High history teacher, Mike Zahs gave a great presentation about some of the oldest films in the world.

Mike talked about the Brinton films that he found them when cleaning out a basement in Washington in boxes marked "Brinton Crap." It turns out that these were some of the oldest films ever made, going back to the 1895.

He is currently working with the University of Iowa Libraries and Humanities Iowa on preserving and digitizing the film collection. They sent the films to a preservation company in Pittsburgh to copy the films. They said they restore film from around the world, and they were so impressed they dropped everything else to work on the Brinton films.

As word about the films gets out, Mike has had inquires from around the world to show the films. Mike said that all the premiers will occur in Washington County, and possibly at the State Theater/opera house in Washington. The State Theater is the longest running movie theater in the world, according to Mike. They started showing movies in 1894.

Mike has several of the film catalogs that some of the films were purchased. One film cost $66, which was a lot.

The film collection includes the first news reel ever taken, from 1900 in Galveston, Texas after a storm. He said the police issued an edict that anyone taking film or pictures of tragedies would be shot... but they still did it anyway.

Interest in the film collection, which has been highlighted annually at the Ainsworth Opera House's Brinton Film Festival, increased significantly after the release of the film "Hugo" in 2011. That movie was loosely about film pioneer from the 1800s, Georges Méliès.


Also, we are now looking for Host families for the school year 2014-15. The host family does not have to be Rotarians. We will need to have the first family in place before a student would be selected for our club. Please contact Club President, Becky Patterson or PDG Don Patterson for any information or questions.

How bad could it be, really?



February 13:  Emory Van Gerpen
February 20: Don Vittetoe - Ag Day with Iowa Sec of Ag, Bill Northey
February 27: Matt Miller

The Applewood Bistro is our caterer for February. Yum!