Roundabout 10.9.18



Our speaker on October 16 will be Jeff Mercer, Indiana University’s new baseball coach. Jeff is a native of Bargersville, Ind., and graduated from Franklin Community High School. Jeff is a graduate of Wright State University, where he was a two-time All-Horizon League honoree in baseball in 2008 and 2009. After serving as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio Northern University and a volunteer assistant at the University of Michigan and Western Kentucky University, Jeff returned to Wright State as an assistant coach in 2013 as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach. He became head coach in 2016 and led Wright State to two outstanding seasons, winning 38 games in 2017 and 39 games in 2018. The 2018 Wright State Raiders won both the Horizon League regular season and tournament championships and competed in the NCAA Regional. Jeff is taking over the Big Ten’s premier baseball program. Since 2008, Indiana leads the Big Ten in total wins, conference wins, and NCAA tournament appearances. The Hoosiers have appeared in the tournament in five of the last six seasons. In accepting the Indiana job, Jeff stated, “I have loved baseball and the state of Indiana my whole life and it is an honor to be the head baseball coach of the state’s flagship institution.” We will be meeting in at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church on the Indiana State Road 46 bypass.



* The Rotary Toast will be held on Friday, November 2, in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union.  This year the Toast will be honoring Steve and Connie Ferguson. Get your tickets now – “It’s gonna be awesome!”

* President Loren again described our new quarterly Lunch Buddies program. A list has been set up which randomly pairs each Rotarian in our club with another Rotarian in our club. You may be good friends with the other Rotarian or you may not know her or him. The idea is for the members of each pair to contact one another and set up a time to meet and visit, perhaps for lunch or for coffee or a late afternoon drink. The list is available from our secretary and will also be distributed by e-mail. Please get together before the end of the quarter. Next quarter a new Lunch Buddies list will be generated.

* Our next Rotary 5:05 social event will be held at Joy and Rick Harter’s home on Thursday, October 18. Bring your own favorite beverage and join the fun. It will be held outside, weather permitting. Directions to Joy and Rick’s home will be distributed closer to the event.

 * Our “Twelve Months of Service” project for October will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 27, at WonderLab, where we will be tending the WonderGarden.

* Also on Saturday, October 27, our district’s Rotary Leadership Institute will be held in Vincennes. Please contact President Loren for details.

* The Business Outlook Panel will be held on Thursday, November 1, at noon at Woolery Mill. Our regular Tuesday, October 30, meeting is cancelled.

* The Rotary Toast will be held on Friday, November 2, in Alumni Hall of the Indiana Memorial Union.  This year the Toast will be honoring Steve and Connie Ferguson. Get your tickets now. “It’s gonna be awesome!”

* Interfaith Winter Shelter chosen to receive Rotary gift.  Each quarter, Bloomington Rotary selects by lot a local charity to receive a gift from the club in the names of the speakers who provide our weekly programs. During the next quarter gifts will go to the Interfaith Winter Shelter.

The Interfaith Winter Shelter is a low-barrier shelter for homeless individuals in Monroe County. Its purpose is to offer a warm, safe space to those who have nowhere to go and do not meet admission requirements for other shelters in the community.



Charlotte Zietlow introduced Liz Watson, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana’s ninth congressional district. Charlotte said that she understands what Liz is going through as she campaigns, because Charlotte ran for Congress about 40 years ago. Liz was born in Bloomington and attended Bloomington High School South before earning degrees from Carleton College and Georgetown University Law Center. One of her first jobs was as an intern in the district office of Congressman Frank McCloskey. She held jobs as the director of workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, as the executive director of the Georgetown Poverty Center, and as the Labor Policy Director for Democrats in the U.S. Congress. Charlotte concluded her introduction by noting that Liz has a record of working hard and doing good.

Liz began her talk by asking – and answering – the question “Why is she running?” She said she shares the same ideals as Rotary: She wants to provide help to those who need help in the community. She has two children, ages 8 and 12, who attend Binford Elementary School just as she did. Through the hard work of her parents, her family was able to move into the middle class in one generation. She wants today’s families to have the opportunity to move into the middle class, and that opportunity seems to be disappearing. She emphasized the importance of health care today, and that many people in Southern Indiana need help in handling their medical needs. We need to make investments to make sure that those who work hard can be successful in our society.

Liz asked us to consider what has happened in the first 18 months of the present administration. Wages fell. The tax cuts did not trickle down to those at the bottom. Eighty-three percent of the tax cuts went to the wealthiest one percent. According to the Indiana Institute for Working Families, the basic costs for working families have risen five times as fast as income since 2009. Further, the IIWF reports that Indiana ranks 12 out of the 12 Midwest states in the percent of adults with a post-secondary education. Health care needs to be available and affordable for all. Opioid deaths have doubled in the last three years. In Indiana, we spend more on school vouchers than any other state. It is hard for today’s young people to buy a house, to pay off their student loans. In her opinion, the current state and federal administrations are abandoning fellow Hoosiers, not listening to them. Our present government is not a government that holds family values.

In Liz’s opinion, we can do better. If you move up the ladder to the middle class, you need to leave the ladder so that others can follow, not pull it up after you. Liz decided to run for Congress because it seems to her that those in government now are not interested in helping out those who are not so fortunate. She wants to be a representative who shows up and really listens and fights to make things better. In closing, she wants to make sure everyone is registered to vote, and then does vote. She believes in equality, liberty, justice for all, kindness, and compassion.

When asked her views on tax policy and the tax code, she was very opposed to the tax changes made by the Republicans last year, which gave 83% of the tax cuts to the wealthiest 1%. The legislation was also prepared in secret, with little opportunity for Democrats to discuss the changes. This tax cut will also add $1.5 trillion to our national debt. She believes an open and transparent process should be used to rewrite the tax code, with rigorous debate. Tax cuts should be given to the middle class, not the wealthiest among us. Congress needs to listen to the voters, not the lobbyists. That is why she does not accept any corporate PAC (political action committee) money for her campaign.


Our October 9 Weekly Gathering

President Loren Snyder let the meeting and Owen Johnson greeted us.
Dick Rose led the pledge and reflection, in which he considered today’s national discord and ended with a ray of hope. In Sunday’s Hoosier Times, columnists painted a dim picture of what is going on in our country. George Will described “America’s disturbing plunge into protectionism” and E. J. Dionne’s headline was “Kavanaugh fight reveals a broken democracy.” The October 2018 issue of The Atlantic (formerly Atlantic Monthly) asks the question “Is democracy dying?” A series of articles in this issue provide disquieting reading, including “On the slide into tribalism,” by Amy Chu and Jed Rubenfeld (two Yale law professors); “A warning from Europe: The worst is yet to come,” by Anne Applebaum; and “America’s courts can’t ignore the world,” by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Breyer worries about the isolation of our courts in the U.S. from the courts in the rest of the world. There are difficulties in establishing the rule of law in a democracy. For example, in 1954 Brown v. Board of Education held that raracial segregation violated the Constitution, but segregation was not immediately ended. When, in 1957, a judge in Little Rock, Ark., ordered Central High School desegregated, the local White Citizens’ Council, supported by the governor, rallied in front of the school, letting no black child enter. It took a president’s decision to send 1,000 paratroopers to Arkansas to integrate Central High School. The rule of law is critical to the continuation of democracy. On a more positive note, Jon Meacham in The Soul of America finds many examples in our history when we have faced crises and we have survived. In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln used the phrase “the better angels of our nature” to reflect his hope that the Union would not be dissolved. In the U.S., we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In his inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”—as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail. As Rotarians, we need to ask “Is it fair?” and “Is it beneficial to all concerned?” Are our better angels prevailing?

Happy dollars to support Teachers Warehouse were given for a wide variety of reasons, including having dinner with Harmon Baldwin (who is 96), the Sycamore Land Trust annual celebration, the grand opening of the Boys & Girls Club, the life of George Taliaferro, and birthdays.

Michael Shermis introduced guests:

  • Ann Fraker, guest of Dick Rose
  • Frank Kerker, guest of Ann Connors
  • Kim Alexander, guest of Efrat Feferman
  • Anne Bono, guest of Liz Irwin
  • Justin Crossley, guest of Martha Foster
  • Zahradeen Ahmad, guest of Jim Bright
  • Trent Deckard, guest of Kyla Cox Deckard
Member birthdays this week:
  • Tim Jessen, October 8
  • Hal Turner, October 10
  • Art Oehmich, October 11
Membership anniversaries this week:
  • Ann Connors, 2 years
  • Tim Jessen, 2 years
  • Sara Laughlin, 10 years
Loren’s thought for the week: “Comfort zones are for the thermostat, not people – when was the last time you changed your temperature?”
Bill Perkins, Reporter
Charlie Osborne and Glenda Murray, Photographers