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Does your club go dark over the holidays?  DG David has some fun tips about how to keep your Rotary on this December.  See DG David's latest monthly video HERE  
You may see all of David's video messages HERE
District Governor David is very pleased to announce that the District 5495 Nominating Committee has selected
Larry Horton of the Tempe Rio Salado Rotary Club to be our District Governor for 2022-23.  Here are some of the  highlights of Larry’s many accomplishments:
     Honorably retired police officer.
     Self-Storage Owner / Investor
     Member of the Rotary Club of Tempe Rio Salado since 2011
     Co-Founder of the club’s satellite club — Camelback Crossroads (a/k/a CXR)
     Holder of virtually every leadership role in his club (including Club President) during his tenure as well as President of the satellite
     Rotary Group Study Exchange participant to Australia
     Assistant Governor
     RYLA Mentor, Counselor Coordinator, Planning Committee
     Sydney and Toronto Rotary International Conventions Attendee
     Youth Protection Officer
     Club Leadership Academy Facilitator
     Master of Ceremonies - PETS
     Emerging Rotary Leader participant — 2019 Rotary Zone Institute
     Married  to Jenn — also a member of CXR)
     Two children: Angel (24), Emory (4 months)
In the meantime, if you would like to reach out to DGND Larry with your well wishes or to offer your help, he can be reached at ppd918@mac.comor you can text or call him at 602-363-9440.
The latest new this month from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) continues to be somewhat discouraging though there is good news to report.  As of the November 20th report of the GPEI there have been 107 case of wild poliovirus this years, 21 cases in Afghanistan and 86 cases in Pakistan.  Afghanistan has equaled it total for all of 2018 at 21 cases.  Pakistan has slipped badly, far exceeding the 12 cases it reported in 2018.  Read on for the good news and the positive outlook expressed by Rotary International and its partners!
ABU DHABI, 19 November 2019 – Today, global leaders convened at the Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) Forum in Abu Dhabi to affirm their commitment to eradicate polio and pledge US$2.6 billion as part of the first phase of the funding needed to implement the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Polio Endgame Strategy 2019-2023.
This pledging event comes on the heels of a major announcement last month that the world has eradicated two of the three wild poliovirus strains, leaving only wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) still in circulation. Additionally, Nigeria – the last country in Africa to have cases of wild polio – has not seen wild polio since 2016 and the entire WHO African region could be certified wild polio-free in 2020. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of health workers, governments, donors and partners, wild polio only circulates in two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
When we talk about PolioPlus, we know we are eradicating polio, but do we realize how many added benefits the programme brings? The ‘plus’ is something else that is provided as a part of the polio eradication campaign. It might be a hand-operated tricycle or access to water. It might be additional medical treatment, bed nets, or soap.
Providing clean water
Addressing a critical long-term need such as access to clean water helps build relationships and trust with community members. Within camps for displaced people in northern Nigeria, the polio vaccinators who regularly visit communities are sometimes met with frustration. “People say, ‘We don’t have water, and you’re giving us polio drops,’” Tunji Funsho explains. Rotary and its partners have responded by funding 31 solar-powered boreholes to provide clean water in northern Nigeria, and the effort is ongoing.
The bronze sculpture of Paul Harris holding a young child in his arms has been repurposed.  This sculpture was generously donated to the District by the Mesa Rotary club. The Paul Harris bronze will become a District award that will be awarded to one of the clubs in District 5495.  The award will be known as the End Polio Now Champions Award.
There are two (2) metrics that will be used to determine the awardee:  1. Overall club giving to the PolioPlus fund and 2.  Per capita giving to the PolioPlus fund.  Per capita giving will receive a higher weighting than overall giving. As an example, Club A is number 6 in overall club giving and number 4 in per capita giving.  Using a weight of 1.25 club A has a total ranking of 11. (6 + 1.25*4 = 11)  Club B is number 8 in overall club giving and number 2 in per capita giving.  Club B has an overall ranking of 10.5.  (8  + 1.25*2 = 10.5)  Since club B has a lower overall total they would be the winner. Rankings will be calculated for each club in the District using the PolioPlus report from Rotary Club Central. Results will be reported quarterly with the first report coming in January.  While it has not yet been determined, it is likely that only the top 10 or 15 clubs will be reported rather than reporting the ranking of all clubs in the District.  If your club is not in that group you likely have some work to do.  The ranking for all clubs however will be calculated and available upon request.
You should make it your club goal to be the first recipient of this newly created award.  The award will be made each year at the District Conference.  The cutoff date for determining the year’s winner will vary year to year based on the date of the District Conference.  Keep in mind that Rotary International can be a little slow in getting information on donations posted to Rotary Club Central. If your club is serious about earning this award, donations to the PolioPlus fund sooner than later would be a good idea. 
RESULTS – 2019 Peace-themed Interact Writing Contest
The Rotary Club of Sun City/Sun City Satellite and its sponsored Interact club at Washington High School in Phoenix responded in a big way to the D5495 Peace Builder Network’s challenge - our 1stannual Peace-themed Writing Contest.  
The students were asked to either write about what peacelooks like on their school campus or what peacemeans to them personally and RC Sun City offered awards of $100 and $50, respectively for first and second places.
Club Advisor, Jill Green, definitely encouraged her Interactors to participate…and 19 students submitted essays!  All were well to very well done - reflecting both their personal views and also the terrific diversity of Washington HS’s student body. With Interact raising up amazing, peace-minded, young people such as these the potential for greater peace in our communities and the world is assured.
To read the winning essays yourself, just click on the link here…and enjoy the thoughtfulness brought by these amazing Arizona Interactors!
Have Your Club Purchase a Table of 8 and Make It an Outing
Wear Your Best Hawaiian Clothing to Coincide With the International Convention in Honolulu and Our Own District 5495 Hawaiian Themed Conference 
The Rotary Club of Superstition Mountain– Apache Junction and Gold Canyonis proud to announce “PEOPLE of ACTION” a FUNdraising event for the Rotary Foundation. Our objective is to raise  $12,000 for the Foundation.
District 5495 Governor David Simmer and Superstition Mountain Rotary President Bob Benjamin, invite you to join fellow Rotarians on Saturday, March 21, 2020 for an evening of delicious food and LIVE entertainment. The Barleens “Variety Spectacular” show will provide music, comedy, impersonations and a walk down memory lane with lots of laughs and — most important — a FUN evening! Doors will open at 5:15pm.  Dinner served at 6:30pm.
For more information CLICK HERE.
In cooperation with the Barleen Family the Superstition Mountain Club has secured this exclusivedate for a Rotary fundraising event. The Barleens Dinner Show – a 33-year family tradition in the East Valley — is located at 2275 E Old Apache Highway, Apache Junction. Over the years the Barleens have entertained and delighted thousands of families. If you have never seen the show, this is your opportunity.  If you have seen the show in the past, come-on back for a brand new experience!
Our goal is to FILL the Theater with 460 Rotarians, family and friends from across the state of Arizona who want to support the Rotary Foundation.
TICKETS for this fantasitc event are just $62 per person which includes dinner, the Barleen Family variety show and a $25 contribution to one of the world’s most highly regarded charities — the Rotary Foundation.
Tickets are on a first come first serve basis– i.e. once your reservation is made and PAID seats will then be assigned based on e-mail date and time stamp. 
CORPORATE SPONSORS are available to ANY Rotarian or business at $500. Your Contribution includes dinner and show tickets for 8, contribution to The Rotary Foundation, and preferredseating for 8.   Sponsors: please provide a high resolution company logo for advertising at the event. 
STAY-CATION  For those traveling from a distance, accomodations are available at special rates for rooms at the new Marriott Residence Inn.
For more information, contact Harvey Clark at 203-841-7666 or by email at
 Together we see a world where people unite, and take action to create lasting change — across  the globe,in our communities and in ourselves
My name is Raquel and the Rotary Club of Verde Valley sponsored my grant from The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona, and helped me achieve my goals.  When I first came across the job of phlebotomy, I said, "That is what I want to be!"
I spent some time researching to find the best and most affordable phlebotomy program.  Once I found a school I thought would fully prepare me for a phlebotomy career, I enrolled.  Government aide did not cover Arizona Medical Training Institute - the school where I wanted to complete my program.  Therefore, I looked at other organizations that could help.  I applied to TRVFA and shortly was contacted by The Verde Valley Rotary Club.  They asked me to attend one of their meetings and introduce myself.  They kindly welcomed me and asked me what my plan was including my future goals and how much financial assistance I needed.  I explained that I was only asking for half of my total tuition cost.  They later reached out to me and said they were approving their club's sponsorship of my grant request for the total cost of my tuition.
I successfully completed my phlebotomy program in Phoenix, Arizona.  I currently work for Labcorp as a Phlebotomist.  I have been motivated to advance in this field, so I am furthering my education to pursue a degree in laboratory science to become a medical lab technician.  I am so grateful to TRVFA!
Around two years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my life; I applied to be an AZ Ambassador to Kenya with the
Crutches 4 Africa Project. I was able to experience a two-and-a-half-week journey that truly changed my life and the people’s lives around me. I was able to see the impact that Rotary and Interact has on the world. This year, Interact 5495, is proud to announce that we have a new opportunity; this year, applicants can apply for either Kenya or Mexico. Applications are due December 15th! If you know of a good candidate, please direct them to our website! As always, these trips do need funds and devices, so if you are interested in donating, please talk to your local Interact club or send me an email!
We are also rapidly moving forward on launching our district’s first-ever JR Ryla at Camp Wamatochick in Prescott on June 17-20, 2020. We are asking Rotary Clubs and Rotary Club Foundations to consider making one-time Founder Donations to help underwrite the cost of this badly-needed program. Those clubs and individuals making Founder Donations of $2,500 or more will have their names inscribed on a permanent Founders Plaque that will be displayed at the camp. This camp will truly impact the 17 Jr. High Clubs in our District to truly to see the power of Interact and how much you can have fun with it too! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me or Art Harrington!
The time is perfect for a Can Food Drive! Normally, food stock is low after Thanksgiving, so it is a great time to host a Food Drive! My club, Mohave Interact, goes around with door hangers that ask for non-perishable items and then return in two days to collect! With food drives, you can see the power of a community!  
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and wishing you a very happy holiday season!
                                         Crutches 4 Africa  -  Applications to open Nov. 1 
Applications for positions as Interact Ambassadors and Team Advisors are expected to be available by Nov. 1, or shortly thereafter, on our Interact District 5495’s website,, according  to District Interact Chair Art Harrington.
For the past three years our district has been selecting from our top Interactors in the state a team of Interact Ambassadors, accompanied by adult advisors, that have been sent to Kenya for two weeks during the summer.  From the funds raised each year for the program, the airfare for the student Ambassadors has been paid, along with the travel insurance for the team.  The adult advisors have paid their own way each year.
RYLA 5495 – Teaching Our Young Leaders
                  SERVICE ABOVE SELF
It is that time of year again and the District 5495 RYLA Programs are moving forward, with RYLA Pinerock scheduled Jan 17-20, and RYLA Ponderosa scheduled to be April 2-5.    One of the key components of RYLA 5495 is providing high school students the opportunity to LEARN the concept of 
SERVICE ABOVE SELF by participating in a hands-on service project.   This will be the 7thyear that RYLA 5495 will be partnering with the Manzanita Outreach Program in Cottonwood to pack meals.  Last year the RYLA program packed 75,000 meals, and the year before just a tad under that, etc.  These are all meals that all remain and are distributed to communities in Arizona. For many of the students who attend RYLA, this is the first opportunity they have had to experience the beauty of SERVICE ABOVE SELF. We are teaching our young leaders to give back!!  In order to make this program grow over the past 7 years, RYLA has relied on the generous tax donationsof so many District members.  We appreciate your consideration in helping provide this ongoing opportunity to the 200 + students who attend your RYLA 5495 District Programs.  Below is the link set 
up directly to the Manzanita Outreach Program on behalf of RYLA Pinerock and RYLA Ponderosa for your consideration. 
Thank you.  
Tammy Sabinsky, RYLA Pinerock Chair
Sherry Mischel, RYLA Ponderosa Chair
It is time to start thinking about RYLA Ponderosa in Heber.  Spring program is Thursday-Sunday, April 2-5.  Then, we will conduct another program over Columbus Day weekend, Friday-Monday, October 9-12.  After 2020, Columbus Day weekend will be our new program dates.  We are hope that by moving the program from Spring to Fall, we will get a better attendance.  
Registration for Spring program 2020 will open on January 1. Please go to www.ryla5495ponderosa.orgfor registration forms and information.   Please contact Sherry Mischel,, 602-51-3339, or John Wintersteen,, 602-390-3124 with any questions or concerns. 
Once again, both RYLA Pinerock and RYLA Ponderosa will conduct a food packing service project at our perspective camps.  We can only do it with your help.  Take advantage of the AZ tax credit and donate today!  Go to:


T’is the season to support Rotary’s great work AT NO COST TO YOU!  

I am asking a huge favor in the spirit of Rotary.  I am asking that EVERY ROTARIAN in District 5495 take advantage of the Arizona Credit for Contributions to Qualified Organizations by donating to charities that will benefit Rotary programs.  If you support one or both of the programs outlined below you will get dollar-for-dollar offset of your Arizona Tax.  It is not necessary to itemize deductions to receive this tax benefit.  (See the contribution caps outlined below.)  

If you are an Arizona taxpayer you have the incredible privilege of directing tax dollars to causes that benefit those who need a helping hand or a nutritious meal.

Here are the two AZ tax credit programs that benefit Rotary programs.

  • The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA) provides vocational scholarships to those who just need a bit of help to get an education that can transform their lives.  (More information on donating below.)
  • Manzanita Outreach provides everything necessary for our RYLA campers to have fun while helping others — packing nutritious meals for those who are food insecure.  (More information on donating below.)


Founder Donors Being Sought
Visionary Rotary clubs, club foundations and individual Rotarians are being sought who are willing to make a one-time contribution to help underwrite a badly-needed new Rotary youth services program in our district. Those individuals, clubs or club foundations who are willing to donate $2,500 or more to establish this program will have their names inscribed on a permanent Founders Plaque, which will be displayed at Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, where we will be holding our first-ever JR RYLA camp on June 17-20, 2020 for youth in grades 6-8. We look forward to a long and happy relationship with this camp, as the home for this exciting new leadership development adventure for middle school and junior high youth. 
Consider the fact that 17 of our current 101 Interact clubs in our district have middle school and junior high students in them.  Yet, we have had nothing for these youth beyond their clubs, except for their ability to participate in our two annual Interact conferences.  They are too young to be able to go as Rotary Youth Exchange “outbounds,” and they are also too young to be able to attend either of our high school age RYLA weekends at Pinerock or Ponderosa.  They are unable to serve on the Interact District Council or to apply to become Interact Ambassadors to Kenya.  It is understandable that they have felt “left out” of any of our “extra-curricular” programs available to high school Interact members.
Say hello to Honolulu, home to the 2020 Rotary International Convention. And the best way to see this island paradise?
Hang with local Rotarians and Rotaractors
Discover Aloha
in Honolulu, Hawaii!
Register for the 2020 convention now and save up to $200. The early registration fee is $450 for Rotarians and $120 for Rotaractors through December 15th. Register at While there, download the promo kit to encourage your fellow Rotarians to attend Rotary’s biggest event of the year — or watch and share an enticing video that previews the Rotary Convention.
Experience the culture of Hawaii at events planned by the Host Organization Committee in Honolulu; they include a concert at the Waikiki Shell, a sunrise walk for peace, an ancient fishpond project, and a meal with local Rotarians.
Things to know when you arrive that will immediately acclimate you to the Hawaiian way:
It all started when Rotarians Mark von Hoetzendorff and wife Robin were taking their usual morning walk. They noticed that one of the yards they passed by had seriously deteriorated in the past few years. They learned from neighbors that the owner had significant health problems and was no longer able to maintain the yard. This seemed like a good project for the Rotary Club, so Mark proposed it to Club President Damian Bruno and the Board.
Rotarian Danielle Giann called on the resident and learned that the owner was a retired fireman, policeman, pilot, and hotshot fireman. He is wheelchair bound. He agreed to allowing the Rotarians to clean up the property. Craig is a very proud man, but understands that he can no longer do the work required.
Shawn was on a roll today next introducing speaker Joe Genovese Chapter President of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) whose motto/mission is “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town!”  What followed was an amazing and passionate presentation about how Joe became involved in this 501(c)3 organization that was founded in Idaho in 2012.
The organization provides hand-made bunk beds to children who don’t have beds of their own. Joe shared that children are innocent and don’t choose to be poor and he looked at the opportunity to help after several “aha” moments—the first being a situation where a group he was working with helped re-hang a door that had fallen off in an apartment—when kids said, “Do you want to see our room?”  He saw no furniture but everything on the floor that was the first aha moment. Another time when a group working with Santa gift giving and a child asked for a bed and finally through his work with Habitat for Humanity he learned that families could swing an interest-free mortgage, but could not afford to put furniture in the house. He finally put these experiences together and contacted Luke Nicholson in Twin Falls, ID and received training on how to build beds for children in need.  
Joe indicated that there are many great charities that provide clothing, meals and toys to families in need but SHP targets a very specific and basic need of the kids in these families—giving them safe and suitable beds to sleep in at night.
PDG Tonya Watson introduced Paula Rand, and Sheila Mackell, both pediatricians and veterans of several Rotaplast trips.  Rotaplast was founded in 1992 by the San Francisco Rotary Club.   They are committed to helping children and their families worldwide by eliminating cleft lip and/or palate, which is the 4th most common birth defect.  Their first mission was in Chile, where they helped 132 patients, and have now helped over 20,000 patients worldwide, with 13 missions currently scheduled for 2020.  Each mission takes approximately a year and a half from beginning planning to completion, with an average of 25 – 30 team members, about 2/3 of which are medical professionals.  Rotaplast provides medical supplies valued at $45,000 per mission, transports $160,000 of durable medical equipment, staffs the team, covers the cost of transporting the medical personnel, and makes travel arrangements for the entire team.  After an average travel time of 2 to 3 days, the volunteers spend a day screening the patients, followed by 6 to 8 days of surgery, and a follow up day when patients are examined again and parents are given post op instructions.  Saving Smiles.  Changing Lives.

Gary introduced speaker of the day Brian Gillham a beekeeper from Estrella Honey Bees.  He raises bees and also does swarm removal. He indicated he likes to do different stuff and simply likes playing with bees. Even though his bee suit has three layers, he has had as many as 40-50 bee stings at a time often getting stung on his hands.  

So, for those of you who were not present—would you rather be the queen bee, a worker bee or a drone?