March 2018

Making a Difference in Our Community & the World


Service Above Self

We meet Mondays at 12:15 PM
Post Office Pub
1 Ray Street
North Grafton, MA  01536
United States
Venue Map
"From My Heart" Book Launch
The "From My Heart" book launch party is scheduled for March 28 at Shrewsbury High School. Dinner will be at 6:00 PM followed by a program in the auditorium. Every student author is invited to the dinner with up to two free guests. Additional guests may attend at a $5.00 charge. Each student author will be given a copy of the book. The program will feature introduction of the student authors, a keynote speech by Shrewsbury author Henry Grampietro, and reading of their works by selected student authors.
No Meeting Notice
There will be no meeting on holidays or when schools are closed due to inclement weather.  Also, we may not meet on a Monday immediately following a club event such as Recycle Day or Community Reading Day.  Please check the Club Calendar or contact Judy Merriman at for more information. 
Club Executives & Directors
President 2018-2019 (PE)
President 2019-2020 (VP)
Past President
Sgt. at Arms
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Foundation Chair
Membership Chair
Public Image Chair
Website Administrator
Bulletin Chair
Youth Chair
Scholarship Chair
Visioning Champion
Speaker Chair
Welcome to the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury
Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world? Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. Becoming a Rotarian connects you with a diverse group who share your drive to give back.
Club Stories
Dates have been set for two crucial club fundraisers: EARTH DAY RECYCLING EVENT is scheduled for April 22; THE FOOD AND BREW FEST will take place on June 24th. Club members should put those dates on their personal calendars and save them. Many hands make light the work. Not only that, but it's fun to get together to work on these events.
On January 8th, the club was please to welcome new members. Pictured here from left to right are Lynn Lynch, Christine Mowry, Missy Hollenback and Club President, Kathy McSweeney. Christine is the new Executive Director of Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, and Lyn is the Business Manager of SYFS. Together, they replace the memberships vacated in the Corporate Membership of SYFS. Missy is a well-known community activist and has been the guiding light behind the successful Shrewsbury Farmer's Market, along with a variety of other community projects.
We are excited to have Lynn, Christine and Missy among our members!

The Rotary Club of Shrewsbury will be awarding two or more $2,000 scholarships to high school seniors who are planning to attend college in the fall of 2018. These scholarships are paid directly to the student recipient upon their successful matriculation to college and may be used for any educational expense that the recipient chooses (examples: tuition, room and board, books, travel to and from school). 

The Rotary Club of Shrewsbury will also be awarding two or more $500 to $1000 scholarships to high school seniors who will be pursuing a certificate program in their career or trade or immediately entering their career or trade following high school graduation.  Awards can be used toward a certificate program or to purchase tools for one’s chosen trade and are paid directly to the recipient to reimburse the purchase of tools or cost of certificate program.

Any high school senior who lives in Shrewsbury or attends high school in Shrewsbury is eligible to receive a Rotary Club of Shrewsbury scholarship. Applicants should be aware that the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury is an affiliated club of Rotary International, a world-wide service organization. In keeping with Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self,” an applicant’s record of involvement in service organizations and projects is given very high consideration in the awarding of the scholarships. Academic achievement and need are also considered.

Applicants will be expected to complete an application, provide one letter of recommendation, provide a transcript from your school’s guidance office as well as provide personal contact information.  All applications must be received by March 23, 2018.  To obtain a scholarship application, please contact Donald Harbert by emailing Applications are also available from the guidance offices at Shrewsbury High School and at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.

The Rotary Club of Shrewsbury 2018 Calendars are now available at Avidia Bank (Maple Ave, Shrewsbury) Central One Federal Credit Union (Main St., Shrewsbury) and UniBank at Lakeway Commons. Also available via mail order.  This year's calendar contains beautiful photographs from around the town of Shrewsbury.  $5 suggested donation plus S&H.
The speaker at the December 4th club meeting was Marilyn Taylor, Life and Wellness Coach. Marilyn became involved in life and wellness coaching through her other profession, that of massage therapist. Marilyn became involved in deep conversations with her clients that led her in a new direction.
Marilyn asked the club members how they measure success, careers, wealth...? "What if we measured success by what makes us happy? she asked. She noted that a 2009 study on income and satisfaction shows that an income of $75,000 was a plateau beyond which there is no change in the perception of happiness. Today, she believes that might equate with about a $90,000 income.
"What you fell is your messenger of where you are in life—what your level of satisfaction is. In terms of reported happiness, about 50% is from genetic makeup, 10% is from financial well-being and 40% is derived from intentional activity on a person's part. Areas of that intentional activity have to do with: 1) having and nurturing 1 or 2 positive relationship, 2) acts of kindness and compassion, 3) exercise, 4) being in the flow of life [examples - golf, music), 5) spiritual engagement and meaning, 6) using your strengths, and 7) having a positive mindset.
On November 27, Stephen Sykes spoke to the Shrewsbury Rotary about the March of Dimes. Stephen's background had been in banking, but he didn't feel that was a good fit for him and so—when he was laid off—his wife advised him to follow his passion. He began working for the March of Dimes writing letters of thanks to donors.
The March of Dimes, originally chartered by FDR to raise money to fight Polio in the U.S., now works in all areas of infant mortality, pre-term births and birth defects. Today, the organization works to ensure that mothers have access to good care and are not forced out of the hospital too soon after the birth of their child. Other areas in which the March is active is in direct care to infants at the UMass Memorial NICU, male fertility issues and the promotion of breast feeding.
Matt Armenti was welcomed into membership in the Shrewsbury club on November 20, 2017. Matt is the branch manager of the new UniBank office at Lakeway Common. Lakeway Common is the development on the former Spag's location.
Welcome to Rotary and to the Shrewsbury club, Matt!
John and Beth McHoul of Heartline Ministries in Haiti spoke to the club on November 13. Heartline was a recipient of a donation from the Shrewsbury club in 2016, which was used to update the electrical supply of a kitchen at Hearline's maternity center.
John and Beth, originally from Quincy and Weymouth went to Haiti in 1989. They were impressed by the level of poverty there wound up staying in Haiti where they have continued to work to alleviate both causes and effects of poverty in that island nation. Noting that babies die in Haiti by the thousands because mothers don't know how to care for or feed them, the McHouls made it their mission to educate mothers in child care. That mission branced out into giving mothers job skills. Beth, who is a midwife, assists in giving care to mothers and children for the first year of life; she notes that they have not lost a mother in their years of working in Haiti.
In addition to the maternity center, job skill are offered for both men and women. They teach sewing and cooking, teach reading and operating a bakery that trains and employs 50 men. The bakery uses 1,000 pounds of flour each day. In addition to selling baked goods, the supply bread and pizza for the center and local prison. Their next project will be a reverse osmosis water treatment system to make clean, cheap water available. They also provide schooling for children.
Monday, November 6, is the Shrewsbury club's Literacy Reading Day. At the beginning of the school day, on that date, club members of the club go to each 2nd Grade classroom in the Shrewsbury Public School system and present the class with a selection of quality, Caldecott award books and read to the class. This is also an opportunity to tell the children a little about Rotary and what we do.
This year, there will also be a Noon time meeting. The speaker on that date will be Shrewsbury's new Town Manager, Kevin Misikar. Club members won't want to miss either the reading day--which is great fun--or the opportunity to meet and hear from our new Town Manager.
All Rotarians who are able to participate in the Reading Day are asked to communicate with Owen Russell to ascertain the time and class in which they will read. Owen's email is <>.
Mark your calendars now for upcoming Holiday celebrations of the Shrewsbury Club.
December 7, 2017, Holiday Party to be held at the home of Club President, Kathy McSweeney. This will be a "bring an hors d'oeuvre and bottle of wine" event. Significant others are especially invited to this event. Tentative start time is 6:00 p.m. Watch for further details.
December 18, 2017, Holiday Luncheon will be the meeting for that date. The luncheon will be at the usual time and in the Post Office Pub. A luncheon will be planned.
Pictured here with President Kathy McSweeney is the new Shrewsbury Town Manager, Kevin Mizikar. Kevin was the guest speaker at Shrewsbury Rotary Club's weekly meeting on November 6.
Kevin spoke about his family and growing up in a rural area outside of Pittsburgh and about his impressive professional career. Kevin shared his vision and goals as Town Manager.

Mike Collins, son of Shrewsbury Rotarian, Jack Collins, recently had his latest documentary film, Almost Sunrise, shown nationally on PBS in conjunction with their Veterans’ Day series.


Mike got his start as a film maker when a group of Shrewsbury Rotarians went on an exchange program to the Soviet Union. Mike's last film was nominated for an Emmy and this one on helping returning vets heal from the moral injury that so many of them face is winning acclaim across the entire country. It has been embraced by the VA social workers as well as national veterans organizations and military leaders. The documentary has played all across the country and has been shown at the Lincoln Center in NYC to full houses.


Again this year, the Shrewsbury Rotary Club will be hosting a Senior Citizens' Dinner in conjunction with the Senior Citizens Preview of the Fall Play at Shrewsbury High School. Rotarians will be needed to host and serve our guests with food prepared by the great cafeteria staff of Shrewsbury High School.
Rotarians should mark their calendars now and prepare to serve; it's a fun time for all. The date is November 2nd with the dinner preceding the 7:00 p.m. performance. Rotarians are asked to arrive at Shrewsbury High School at 5:00 p.m. The more hands serving, the better service we give to Shrewsbury senior citizens.
Steve Levitsky visited the Shrewsbury club on October 30, to talk about the Rotary Foundation. He pointed to the NIC View project--in which our club was involved with other Central Massachusetts clubs to provide monitoring of babies in the NICU at UMass Memorial. Parents from around the world are able to log on and view their children 24/7 while they are in Neonatal Intensive Care.
For his part, Steve has a daughter who was in the NICU in Philadelphia. Her weight had dropped precipitously after birth and was placed in the unit. The on way that his family could check on her was to go to the hospital. The service to families in similar circumstances in our area, that clubs were able  to provide through District Grants from the Foundation, is what the Rotary Foundation is all about.
Steve emphasized that the Foundation, begun 100 years ago this year with an initial donation of $26.50 exists to help clubs do good things. He noted a project that his club in Concord headed up that raised $61,00 for the transportation needs of an orphanage in Haiti as another example. He said that the Foundation takes the gifts of Rotarians, grows them and then turns them back to worthy projects of clubs around the world. Those donations from Rotarians have brown to over $3 billion over the past 100 years.
Last year District 7910 raised $205,00 in giving to the Annual Fund and $1.3 million was pledged in major gifts, most of those pledged from the wills of donors. This year's goal is to reach $2 million in major gifts. The highly rated Foundation spends 91% of its funds directly on projects.
Massachusetts Senator, Mike Moore, was the speaker at the October 16th club meeting. As did Rep. Hannah Kane several weeks ago, Sen. Moore noted that the Massachusetts legislature is made up of 160 Representatives and 40 Senators. The legislative session is a 2-year cycle.
Sen. Moore noted that from 5-6,000 bills are filed each year and, ultimately, 3-400 are passed in a 2 year cycle. It is when bills get to a committee that issues arise. One example that he noted is legislation that reacts to the fact that Massachusetts lags in offering college credit for high school students taking college level courses. Not all state institutions accept credits from high school study, and the bill would force them to accept it. This issue bogs down in discussion of issues of reciprocity with other states and questions of whether one college/university's credit is equal to all others.
An issue that the senator discussed was a "Safe Community Act" which essentially proposes that Massachusetts be a "sanctuary state." There are questions of whether state law enforcement has authority to detain persons based on INS detainer requests. Courts have said that they do not, unless the person has violated certain specific acts. The Baker Administration has offered a bill to authorize detaining; the legal community says that that bill will not work.
Sen. Moore discussed a land zoning bill introduced in the last session and passed by the senate. The bill is intended to address overdevelopment and access to affordable housing by standardizing land zoning across the state. Sen. Moore has voted against this bill. He noted, however, that there are both positives and negatives to the bill. One positive would be the simplifying of actions brought before local planning boards and would give property owners greater discretion over the use and/or sale of their land.
Also discussed was the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. A pending bill would provide for representation for both victims and alleged perpetrators. Schools would also be required to file more data on allegations that take place on their campuses. Finally the senator noted that there is legislation pending to take action against bump stocks and other devices that effectively turn weapons into automatic weapons.
The speaker at the October 2nd meeting of the club was Matt Ward, breakthrough champion. Matt spoke about overcoming an affliction that plagues most of us, procrastination. Matt described procrastination as that state when our passion and our focus are out of sync.
A native of Hershey Pennsylvania, Matt used the example of Milton Hershey who failed with the establishment of three candy companies, but persisted following his passion until his name became synonymous with chocolate. Hershey's two passions were chocolate and children. He and his wife couldn't have their own children, and so he used his fortune to establish a school for underprivileged kids
Matt said that 90% of people allow their inaction to override their passion and so he listed five steps to overcoming that inaction.
1) Know why—Why do you want to take action?
2) Know the negative result of inaction.
3) Face your fears. We need to stare our fears down.
4) Be proactive. The quicker you take action, the more you accomplish.
5) Accept your failures. Failing doesn't make you a failure; not trying again does.
Matt said that writing down what you want to accomplish makes it 42% more likely that you will succeed. In that spirit, he invited club members to write down one thing they want to accomplish by November 1 and add their telephone number and/or email address. He will contact each person on the first of next month to see if they have accomplished what they said they would.
State Representative, Hannah Kane, was the speaker at the September 25th meeting of the Shrewsbury Rotary Club. Hannah is no stranger to our club and it was great to welcome her back to speak with us.
Hannah gave a quick paced update on the 109th biennial session of the Massachusetts State legislature. Among the committees on which Hannah serves is Public Health and the Food Policy Council. She has also been giving substantial attention to mental health and substance abuse issues. She noted that Massachusets is a leader in combatting opioid abuse and noted that this is a major focus of District Attorney, Joe Early's committee on teens and tweens.
Representative Kane has filed 24 bills. Twelve of those are related to the marijuana ballot issue that was promoted by the industry. She favors requiring the industry to answer to five--and not just one--commissioners. She is also concerned about limiting marketing access to youth and favors requiring the industry to illustrate that 85% of its ad audience are over the age of 21.
Another of Hannah's bills has to do with good waste. She believes that we need to make it easier to donate food to programs to feed those who cannot afford food prices. She noted that we dispose of $700 worth of food per person per year which is both a disposal and an economic issue. She favors supervised medical parole for prisoners with terminal illnesses, which is both a humanitarian issue and a matter of the high cost of keeping these individuals incarcerated and cared for.
Other bills she supports propose the requirement of a fiscal note to be attached to any bill affecting municipalities (which she says will not go anywhere), proposing regional school transportation for students from Shrewsbury to Assabet, supporting the Lake Quinsigamond Commission and another extending the definition of affordable housing to mobile homes. 
Among the accomplishments of the legislative year are a pregnancy fairness act, increased survivor benefits for public safety officials' families. 
In addition to all of the above, Hannah is interested in some twenty initiative petitions
Owen Russell was received as the newest member of the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury at the club's meeting on September 18th. That being the date of the District Governor's visit, Owen had the honor of being inducted into the club by DG Karin Gaffney.
Owen is the branch manager of the Shrewsbury Branch of Central One Federal Credit Union. In that position, Owen replaces our member, Joan Day who retired last spring.
Owen has had a history of Rotary in his past. For several years, he was a member of the Rotary Club of Auburn. He has already been involved in several club projects and will be a valuable member of the club. We give a warm welcome to Owen as our newest club member.
District Governor, Karin Gaffney made her "annual official visit" to the Shrewsbury club on September 18th. She was accompanied by our Assistant Governor, Elliott Rittenberg.
DG Karin, who loves tasteful jewelry displayed the "tasteful" Rotary necklace that her husband gave her as a birthday gift (see photo!). Using the necklace as an illustration, she reminded club members that we are all gears on the wheel. When she took a leave from her job last March in order to assume the office of DG, her friends and relatives thought she had "gone over the cliff," but their remarks gave her opportunity to explain what Rotary does. She said that she might describe Rotary in terms of service projects, fellowship and meetings but—at the heart of it all—she said that in Rotary "we change lives."
This year's theme logo declares, "Rotary: Making a Difference" and it pictures people of all shapes in sizes encircled by a circle symbolizing the globe. She opined that we are here in Rotary for a variety of reasons, but at the heart of it all, we are people who have a heart for service and, she said, "Those are the kinds of people I want to be around."
DG Karin also spoke of the contagious Rotary Fever seen in the array of service projects at an International convention. She went on to describe exciting things being done by clubs in our district such as building ramps to homes for handicapped persons, offering job training for prison inmates and providing crock pots and food for low income families. To hear about these kinds of great service projects is to be infected with the fever.
The 3 foci for this year in the district were offered by the Governor. Those are: 1) to increase service projects, 2) to raise awareness of Rotary, and 3) to bring in new members. These three foci reinforce one another; service projects raises visibility/awareness, which brings in members, who—in turn—add to the service projects that can be done. And so the wheel goes on-and-on!
Finally, the DG announced the 5 District Conference that will be held from May4-6 at Mt. Washington.