The May 14 meeting of Mesa West Rotary was brought to order via Zoom technology with Jim Schmidt introducing himself as Mesa West's Lame Duck President.  He was feeling more lame than is typical during the final months of a Rotary year after the incoming officers have had their training at President Elect Training Seminar (PETS) and Club Leadership Academy (CLA).  The added sense of being a Lame Duck President was due to the social distancing response to COVID-19 when he doesn't even get to meet in person with his Mesa West friends and club members.
 
Ed Koeneman was prepared with some patriotic thoughts to share about some significant historical dates, Rotary and People named Ed who have made a difference.  With Rotary's involvement in health and immunizations inspiring some of his findings.  He said that Smallpox dates back to 10,000 years BC in NE Africa.  Egyptian mummies show evidence of skin lesions 1500 BC, including Pharaoh Ramses V.  Smallpox was introduced to Europe between the 5th and 7th centuries and was frequently epidemic during the Middle Ages.  The first stages of the decline of the Roman Empire (AD 108) coincided with a large-scale epidemic: the plague of Antonine, which accounted for the deaths of almost 7 million people.
 
During medieval times, herbal remedies, as well as cold treatment and special cloths were used to either prevent of treat smallpox.  Dr. Sydenhan (1624-1689) treated his patients by allowing no fire in the room, leaving the windows permanently open, drawing the bedclothes no higher than the patient's waist, and administering "twelve bottles of small beer every twenty-four hours." (This was a treatment Ed thought he might have been willing to try.)
 
In 18th century Europe, 400,000 people died annually of smallpox with fatality rates estimated at 20 to 60% and 1/3 of the survivors went blind.  It was common knowledge that survivors of smallpox became immune to the disease; survivors of smallpox were called upon to nurse the afflicted.  Inoculation was common practice in Europe and the U.S.  Colonies in the 1700's.  In the 1721 smallpox outbreak, half of Boston's 12,000 citizens contracted the disease.  It was 12% fatal for non-inoculated people, 2% fatal for inoculated people.
 
In 1766 George Washington's troops could not take Quebec due to a smallpox outbreak among the troops.  
 
Fast forward to 1796...
Edward Jenner had heard the tales that dairymaids were protected from smallpox naturally after having suffered from cowpox.  Cowpox is similar to, but much milder than smallpox.  On May 14, 1796 Jenner administered the first cowpox inoculation to an 8-year-old boy using the pus from a fresh lesion from a dairymaid.  By 1800 this type of inoculation was common in the US and Europe.
 
In 1967, a global campaign was begun under the guardianship of the World Health Organization and finally succeeded in the eradication of smallpox in 19777.  On May 8, 1980, the World Health Assembly announced that the world was free of smallpox and recommended that all countries cease vaccination.
 
Rotarians will likely not have to wait so many centuries to see Polio eradicated from our Globe. Because of our involvement in immunization and disease control, it only makes sense that we are leading the way by staying safe with social distancing while at the same time supporting and engaging in collaborative efforts to address COVID-19 threats during our current pandemic.  Rotary will definitely make a positive difference.
 
Guests
Ashley Ferguson was in attendance.   She is the incoming President of the Rotaract Club at Grand Canyon University.  Ashley is studying Business Management at GCU and plans to to on to specialize in Non-Profit Management at ASU.  Samantha Cattrell was also in attendance.  She will serve as Rotaract Club Secretary at GCU next year.  AG Lee Holmes was also in attendance.
 
Thought for the Day 
Donna Goetzenberger shared the following thought for the day:  With love, we can be more selfless.  It is a recipe for good values, which result in feeling good.  As we reduce stress and its complications in ourselves and others, altruism in our society improves.
 
Happy Bucks - Officiated by Greg Okonowski
  • Ed Koeneman said they will have celebrated two birthdays in less than a month at their house, with Debbie's on April 22 and his own on the 20th of May.
  • Wendell Jones pledged $85 for Polio Plus to honor Carolyn's 85th birthday.
  • Chris Krueger was happy to know that her father is in an excellent rehab facility in Omaha following his recent stroke.  Chris was happy to report that there was a silver lining on her emergency trip to Nebraska.  She was able to celebrate her son's 31st birthday.  She pledged $50 to the Mesa West Foundation to be used for Aqua Africa.
  • Polly Cady was happy to brag about the talent in  Mesa West Rotary.  Lucinda, Pam and Jeanie led training sessions for the virtual Club Leadership Academy on Saturdays May 9 and 16, and Chris Krueger and Allan Cady will each be instructors each paired with other leaders from District 5495 to instruct sessions at Rotary Leadership Institute to be held May 30.  She pledged $10 for that expertise and another $10 to celebrate her tenth anniversary as a member of Mesa West Rotary - for a total of $20 to Mesa West Foundation.
  • Dan Coons - pledged $5 for each member of the 20-21 Mesa West Board of Directors who attended CLA.
  • Shelly Romine - pledged $5 to match the $5 Dan would spend due to her attendance at CLA.
  • Jim Schmidt was happy to share some highlights from John Maxwell's Developing the Leader Within You:  Paul Harvey said that leaders are problem solvers.  By overcoming obstacles, you learn to conquer.
Rotary Minute
John Pennypacker spoke about the District 5495 Council on Legislation (COL), which is an annual meeting to elect officers for the district and review the Bylaws.  the COL is typically held at the district conference.  This year, it is moving to e-vote.  With the cancellation of the Rotary International Convention and the District 5495 Convention, a backup plan had to be put in place.
 
A communication to club presidents communicated a deadline for proposing amendments to the bylaws of April 1.  On April 29, clubs were also charged with submitting names for delegates.  He is disappointed how few names had been submitted at the time, but the number on Thursday, May 14 was three times what it had been on the previous Monday.  Club Presidents received an agenda which listed the voting items.  The final ballot will go out to delegates on May 20, with a return deadline of June 20.
 
At the 2019 COL, having quorum present to vote was an issue.  It was possible to reconvene at a later time during the conference, when a quorum was finally present.  Combined with the pandemic-related social distancing, it was clear an alternative plan involving electronic voting needed to be formalized.  No-one in district leadership had actual experience in such a practice.  The Bylaw Committee sought input from RI.  One company they were referred to indicated that all votes from the same club would have to be the same.  Split votes would not be allowed.  
 
Governing documents in District 5495 allow for temporary policies to be put in place.  The temporary policy would need to be circulated among all District Chairpersons and the District Governor Line to be recommended to put forward.  Their recommendation will be able to be used only for the 2020 COL, unless the vote at the COL to make the electronic voting process a permanent option is affirmed by the majority of the delegates voting.  The wording has been carefully crafted.  It will be a straight up or down vote, it will be all or nothing.  If voted down, the changes will not be permanent.
 
The amazing thing about this year's COL is that only two amendments were put forth.  One will increase the size of the Nominating Committee from six to nine members with three terms ending each year, and stipulating that the current District Governor cannot serve the year following the end of their term as one of the members added to the committee.  
 
COL delegates from Mesa West Rotary will be Jim Schmidt, Dan Coons, and Bob Zarling.
 
Program
Jeanie Morgan Introduced Jay and Melissa Stuckey, who specialize in long-term care in their franchise operation - Assisted Living Locators.  CLICK HERE to download a copy of their PowerPoint presentation.
 
Melissa said that they purchased the ALL Mesa Franchise which was started twenty years ago and is one of the largest in the nation.  She said that Jay is a 3rd generation Phoenician.  She said they would try to keep their presentation brief and chat a bit about COVID-19 as well as assisted living.  She said that both she and Jay are Certified Dementia Specialists.
 
With the pandemic, there are a lot of unknowns.  On average, individuals over the age of sixty-five have two or more chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart disease, dementia, etc.   These conditions would make this population more vulnerable, and for those who are more vulnerable, more care is needed.  From fifty-five plus, as more care is needed, independence can change to assisted living or more extreme cases to memory care or skilled nursing facilities.
 
A high portion of those affected with COVID-19 in Arizona are in nursing homes and attribute to about half of the deaths.  This might prompt the question, if the risk is high in a nursing home, why go there?  The risk at home may be high as well due to safety issues.  The risk of falls and malnutrition in this vulnerable population are high - especially when they become ill.  Combined with memory loss, and the lack of socialization, safety is the primary reason to dictate the necessity of a move.
 
To answer the question, "What is being done to protect those who move?"  State and CDC guidelines are in uncharted territory.  After a new resident moves into a facility, they are in quarantine for fourteen days.  Employees have their temperature checked daily when they arrive as well as throughout the day.  Only essential workers are allowed in the facility.  These restrictions impact socialization.  At this time, there is no admittance to memory care.
 
With regard to cleanliness and sterilization, there is plenty of protective equipment.  Equipment is not overly shared.  There is some hallway social activity.  Residents have meals in their rooms.  Families considering a facility for a loved one can only have virtual tours at this time which is not a great way to learn.  A community is defined as eleven or more residents.  A group home has ten or fewer residents.  When we go into phase three of reopening, visitations will resume.  
 
Assisted Living Locators serve as advisors to seniors who do not pay to have their services.  ALL is paid by the communities.
 
Many question why information is not more forthcoming about COVID-19 cases and homes.  They are not required to share, and HIPPA may even prevent some sharing.  Where is the line crossed when transparency becomes more important than privacy?  It is not a line that should be crossed without careful consideration of long-term implications.
 
Big things we should all consider are that residents in homes are very lonely during this pandemic.  They told of a 94-year-old father who learned about FaceTime.  He got very good at it.  His family now has a virtual happy hour with him every day at 5:00 PM his time - when it is 2:00 PM for his family in Arizona.  Connecting with loved ones who are in homes in ways they can see and be seen should be explored.  In many cases, the staff would love to assist.