Welcome - President Dan Coons
President Dan opened the meeting by introducing himself then reciting the Rotary International 2021-22 theme - Serve to Change Lives.  He then reminded everyone of the Rotary Vision Statement:
Together we see a world where people unite and 
take action to create lasting change - 
across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves
Ray Smith offered the invocation.  Jim McGown led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Since it was the first time Mesa West Rotarians had been together since December 16, President Dan asked Ray Smith to lead everyone in singing Auld Lan Syne to celebrate the new year.
Rotary Minute - Jack Rosenberg
In the early '90's, Jack Rosenberg would dress up as Jellybean the Clown and visit children in hospitals and cheer them by making ballon animals and having fun with them.  His Rotary Friends Bill Farretta and John Ore were delivering clothing, medical supplies, and food to refugees from the Bosnia-Croatia War and invited Jack to go along with them so Jellybean could cheer the impacted children.  Years later, Jack was sitting at the counter in a diner and was talking with someone about that experience.  A young man named Goran overheard the conversation as he was working behind the counter.  After asking a couple of questions to make sure he was remembering right, he told Jack that he had been one of those refugee children.  One of the questions was "did Jellybean have a top hat?  He had been five years old and remembered sitting on a curb when Mr. Jellybean came by and gave him his first piece of chocolate.
Jack told about that chance meeting at Rotary which inspired Bill and John to make a trip to the diner with Jack so they could also again cross paths with Goran.
Jellybean's top hat has since been bronzed and we see it weekly at our meetings collecting happy bucks and holding raffle tickets.  It's not often that we have the opportunity to know how something we did touched someone else.  That chance meeting was a precious moment for Jack.  He and Goran are still Facebook friends.
Presidential Humor - Dan Coons
A man went into a pet store to buy a pet, but didn't want an ordinary pet like a cat, dog, or bird.  He wanted something different.  The pet store owner talked him into buying a talking centipede.
After getting home with the centipede, he opened the box the centipede was in and asked it if it wanted to go to the pub for a few drinks.  The centipede didn't answer.  The owner figured it was worn out from all the changes in its life and gave it some time.
After waiting an hour, he asked again.  The centipede still said nothing.  The owner was beginning to get a bit suspicious and decided if he waited another hour and still no response he'd take it back to the pet store and get a refund.
An hour later, he opened the box and asked again.  The centipede said "I heard you the first time!!!  I'm putting my shoes on!"
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
Chuck announced that the holder of the winning ticket would win $45 and a chance to draw the Ace of Clubs from the deck of cards.  Should the ticket holder be that lucky, they would win $990.  If they don't draw the Ace of Clubs.  The big pot will be over $1,000 at the January 13 meeting.  When the big pot is over $1,000, the raffle is only open to Mesa West Rotary Club members.  Chuck asked Don LaBarge to draw the winning ticket.  Don drew Chuck's ticket.  Don shuffled the cards and gave them to Chuck to again shuffle them face down.  The card Chuck drew was the Five of Spades.
Happy Bucks - Greg Okonowski
  • Jim McGown contributed hoping to get some clarification on the validity of a statement he'd heard recently that VENMO would be reporting amounts of money transferred through them to the IRS.  Someone mentioned that their landscaper might be able to answer that question.
  • Chuck Flint said that his 2018 Ford Fusion was "throwing codes" and was told he needed a "long block."  Translated to language most would understand, he needed a new engine.  The good news was that he had purchased the extended warranty and the new engine was covered.
  • Don LaBarge said he had purchased the last commercial truck under $80,000 from Larry Miller Ford.  He was also happy to have had a smooth experience getting his COVID booster at the VA.
  • John Pennypacker was happy to have avoided being kept in Virginia longer than planned by snow.
  • Warren Williamson contributed to honor the late Betty White with his favorite of her many quotes:  "Every woman should get eight hours of beauty rest each night - nine if they are ugly."
  • Ron Thompson pledged $100 toward his Paul Harris Fellow
  • Greg contributed - he was happy to be back after missing Mesa West meetings in December.
  • Bob Zarling contributed for the opportunity to point out the cards on the table about the Gilbert Historical Society's Night at the Museum to be held February 19.  CLICK HERE to see the contents of the card in case you forgot to take it home or weren't in person at the meeting.  Bob said a Mesa West Member is one of the sponsors.  An upcoming Mesa West program will be about the Gilbert Museum.  
  • Steve Ross contributed $25 for his birthday.  After turning 75 on January 10th, he feels it's probably time he admits to himself he is no longer "upper middle-aged."
  • Robin Harris made a pledge to celebrate his sweet wife Debbie's birthday.
  • Colleen Coons - after retrieving $10 from President Dan - contributed it to celebrate the opportunity to go to Havasupai Falls on three Youth Exchange trips organized by Chuck Flint.  After hearing the Havasupai Falls expeditions have been closed due to COVID she wanted to celebrate her good fortune.  She also wanted the let everyoe know Ed Koeneman is a rock star.  Now that she's retired, Ed has become her "computer help desk."
  • Frank Rosenberg contributed because he recently sold 2/3 of his interest in his airplane.  The good news is he gets to keep flying and when repairs are needed, he only has to come up with 1/3 of their cost.
  • Allan Cady contributed because he is on the board of directors for The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona.  With a recent donation from the Mesa West Rotary Foundation of $5,000 and the generosity of several Mesa West members, our club is currently the top giving club in the state, with a current total of $11,725 so far this fiscal year (since July 1, 2021).  He asked for the opportunity to pose with President Dan and TRVFA President Jeanie Morgan for a celebratory photograph.
  • Polly Cady contributed.  She was celebrating the fact that they are again a two-car family.  She is very happy for the restored ability to do what she needs to do when she needs to do it.  She is very happy to be a member of Mesa West Rotary Club.
  • Jeanie Morgan pledged $20.  After sending dues notices January 3, nearly half of our Mesa West members had already paid their invoices.
  • Dick Myren contributed his traditional $2 for himself and Rod Daniels both being happy to be associated with Mesa West.  He contributed more lamenting the fact that he and Sandy had recently decided to sell their '94 Audi Convertible - a heart rending decision for him.  They sold it to their landscaper for cash.
  • President Dan celebrated that he was half finished with his term as club president.  When he had mentioned that to Ed Koeneman, Ed wondered if he anticipated having to serve a third year as President since he has now been Club President for a year-and-a-half.  Dan wanted to make sure everyone knew he would be finished in that role June 30.
  • Don LaBarge announced that the final total raised by Mesa West Rotary at the kettle located at Bass Pro as well as the Happy Bucks collected in December at Mesa West Rotary Club meetings was $25,497.62 - a new all-time record, surpassing our 2020 all-time high of $22,300.
  • Ray Smith announced that Jeane Crouse was out of the hospital and back at the rehab center.  She was very weak and did not have her phone.
  • Shelly Romine reminded members there are two service projects in January.  At all January meetings, we will be collecting masks at meetings which will be given to New Leaf.  At this meeting two banana boxes of masks and sanitizer were donated from Salvation Army.  We will have a hands-on project packing emergency food bags at United Food Bank on January 19.  See a separate article in the Messenger to sign up.
  • Logan Harper has been communicating with Diana Tracy about how Mesa West can help provide furnishings needed for Afghan refugees.  He said she will be at our meeting January 13.  Diana Tracy and Mike Flores from the Gilbert Rotary Club are working with the International Rescue Mission locally to coordinate help from their own club and other Rotary Clubs, including ours, to provide comfortably furnished homes for Afghan refugee families coming to the east valley.  We will be hearing more about this.  
Program - Commander Michael Beaton with Mesa Police Department
Sean Green introduced our speaker. Michael Beaton will celebrate 28 years with the Mesa Police Department in February.  He has served as a Gang Detective, FBI Violent Street Gang task foce, Mesa PD Special Crime Apprehension Team, SWAT Operation/team leader and executive officer 1997-2016, Gang Lieutenant, Special Operations Commander, Central Commander downtown area to North of Broadway, FBI National Academy executive leadership training.  Michael is married and has two children - one at ASU and a 5-year-old.  His wife is in pharmaceutical sales.
Michael introduced Stephanie Derivan, who is also a Commander working on the West Side of Mesa.  Stephanie said she was more invested. She has been with the department for twenty years.  She is also married with two children.  Hers are both teens aged 15 and 17.
They talked about the summer project.  They knew they needed to be proactive if they were to be successful in combatting violent crime.  Their effort involved SWAT, Undercover, Gang, and Plain Clothes specialties in the force.  As a result of their concentrated effort, violent crime in Mesa was only up 1% which is a much better statistic than other cities our size reported.
A rising problem in drug-related crimes is the "little blue pill"
Installation of cameras in high-crime areas have enabled positive identification and quicker arrests of suspects.   One specific situation involved the shooting of a homeless person and the shooter was in custody in less than a week.  Another success story involved arrests of members of the Mexican Mafia.
A person with no ties to Mesa who was part of a prison gang in Oklahoma was arrested here in possession of a fully automatic pistol containing fifty rounds.  Working together, he went back to prison.
They introduced a very useful device manufactured in Glendale - a gambrel which can be deployed to minimize risk associated with high-speed chases.  once deployed successfully, it wraps around wheels tangling itself to the point that the vehicle cannot move.  The cost of the device is $4,000 each and it costs $400 to reload it.
The eight camera units installed during the summer project cost about $100,000.  
The high crime area in Mesa is a result of a combination of things - the light rail, clusters of inexpensive hotels, homeless facilities and high-density housing.  There is also a significant gang population on the reservation.
They were asked if they had a wish list, what would be on it?  Bean bag shotguns were mentioned.  More personnel would be a high priority.  They have had good luck with their recruitment, but the most recent academy class was short of what they hoped for.  Stephanie spoke up o this - she said that one of the things she has enjoyed about her career is that she has been able to move into a new responsibility every couple of years.  This keeps her energized while enjoying the benefits of continued employment with the same municipality.  One of the things that attracted her to Mesa was the sense of working in a "home-town" atmosphere.  Mesa has grown a lot since she hired on.
When asked if they felt they had the needed support from city officials, there was no hesitation when they said they have a "great chain of command."
From a question posed by Sean Green relating to a wish list, we learned that it is possible for citizens or organizations to donate funds to be used for specific purposes over and above what the city has budgeted.
An observation worth noting is that both officers had very warm, sincere smiles.  If they have become jaded by their profession, it was never apparent.
Don LaBarge helped Michael and Stephanie wrap up their formal presentation but encouraged members to stay afterward if they had additional questions.