Roundabout 9.11.18

September 11, 2018


On September 18 our speaker will be Frank Kerker, talking about opioids and coffee. Kerker is the founder and “Chief Coffee Trafficker” at Sober Joe Coffee Company. He is a 1982 graduate of IU’s Kelley School of Business and a former vice president of marketing for Coca-Cola North America.

Kerker’s Sober Joe Coffee Company’s launch date in Bloomington was a year ago, coinciding with the South Central (Indiana) Opioid Summit. The coffee company’s proceeds help fund program fees for those seeking recovery from addictions. Sober Joe’s motto, according to a story in the Herald-Times, is “Supporting Recovery, One Cup at a Time.”  Special coffees on sale include “Dark Before Dawn Recovery Blend” and “Dawn’s Surly Light On-Awakening Blend.”

“Recovery is near and dear to my heart,” Kerker, who is a recovering alcoholic, told the newspaper. “It makes a lot of sense for me, because my background is in the beverage business. You know, I want to help, I want to give back, so what do I know about? So this was kind of a perfect intersection of those two areas.”

Kerker also is the owner and founder of 812 Real Estate, a residential and commercial real estate brokerage firm in Bloomington.

The meeting will be in the Solarium at the Indiana Memorial Union at noon.


This Week’s News

Still room at the Comedy Club

Sara Laughlin confirms there are still seats available at the Comedy Attic’s 10th anniversary show on Thursday, September 20, with proceeds going to Teachers Warehouse. Reserve your tickets here:

Reserve your seats now for the 2018 Toast

It is going to sell out soon, so now is the time to get your reservation in for the Fourth Annual Bloomington Rotary Toast.

The date is Friday, November 2, and the honorees are Steve and Connie Ferguson. The place is Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union building.  Alumni Hall’s capacity is only 330 so don’t delay making your reservation.

Half the proceeds will go to the Fergusons’ chosen charity, the IvyTech – Bloomington Scholarship Fund, and the other half will be used by the three Bloomington Rotary clubs for local charitable causes.   During its first three years the Toast has generated more than $115,000 for local charities.

District accepting applications for Rotary Youth Exchange

Now is the time to recruit outstanding young people to be Rotary Youth Exchange students. Applications are available for next year’s RYE class, and you can get all the information you need at the district website

The goal of Rotary Youth Exchange is to promote the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace at the person-to-person level. Students can learn a new culture and language, be an ambassador of understanding and make friends for a lifetime.

Our district is a member of Central States Rotary Youth Exchange, which is a consortium of 19 Rotary districts in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Ontario, Canada.



Social robots can help elderly, says IU prof

So, if you were to design a robot to be a friend and companion, to live in your home or help your grandmother with her meds, what would it look like?  What would it do?

The inquiring mind of Professor Selma Sabonovic wants to know. Sabonovic is with Indiana University’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. She studies robots. More specifically, she studies how robots interact with people. A large part of that work involves designing technology for health care. How can technology benefit elderly people? Can robots help them stay in their homes longer? How about robots in nursing homes? Can they help people interact with one another?  Can they detect depression and loneliness?

To answer some of these questions, Sabonovic and her research team interviewed caregivers, patients, therapists and designers. They took what they learned to workshops and staff discussions to talk about, among other things, the apparent disconnection between what designers in laboratories think robots should do and what users want them to do. Designers viewed aging people as disabled and imagined robots as tools to fix problems. Elderly users, on the other hand, imagined technology as something to support the things they can do, not replace the things they can’t do.  Consequently, most of the potential users, she said, think of social robots as something “cool” but “not for them.”

For robots to be useful, she said, they need to fit into daily life. They need to fit into the home environment. They need to interact not only with the user but also with the user’s grandchildren and with her caregivers. In a community setting, such as in a nursing home, they need to stimulate interaction among the users, provide shared experience and group participation. “They need to be part of the organizational dynamic,” she said. They need to become a social enabler, remembering names, sensing moods.

To be really useful, robots need to be able to help improve attitudes and reduce stress. They need to recognize and respond to a user’s social needs. They need to be able to gather medical data for therapists and for caregivers. They need to encourage a sense of independence and perhaps even suggest helpful behavior.

Existing robots can do some of this already, she said, citing interactive experiences people have had with PARO, a Japanese therapeutic robot who looks like a furry white seal. PARO responds to touch, sound and light. It is a $6,000 commercial biofeedback device that likes to be petted, expresses emotions of satisfaction and sadness and, like the sophisticated artificial pet it is, helps to reduce stress and encourage social interaction among those who engage with it.

The goal of all of this research, said Sabonovic, is to find better ways to use technology to help people stay in their homes longer and to live better, healthier lives. For social robots to be a part of that, she said, it means paying attention to the social needs of people and to the emotional and medical environments in which people actually live.




President-elect Earon Davis presided, filling in for President Loren Snyder.

Peggy Frisbie greeted Rotarians, and guests and Judy Schroeder led the pledge and reflection.

Judy’s reflection was inspired by her reading of Madeleine Albright’s 2018 best-selling book, “Fascism, A Warning.”  The lessons of history tell us that even the United States is not immune from the grip of fascism. “It can happen here,” said Judy, and so it matters what we look for in choosing our leaders. Are they nurturing or angry? Do they encourage contempt for our institutions? Do they destroy our faith in an independent judiciary and an independent press? Or do they invite us to join with them in the hard work of building a democratic society – in building one nation, indivisible.

Nancy Krueger introduced our guest speaker, Selma Sabonovic..

Michael Shermis introduced our guests:

  • Joe Darling, a guest of Liz Irwin,
  • Debbie Hicks, a guest of Jean Emery,
  • Past District Governor Terry Frey,
  • Carolyn Frey from the Bloomington Sunrise Rotary Club,
  • Teed Howard from the Rotary Club of Brown County,
  • Gary Taylor from the Bloomington North Rotary Club.

Susie Graham collected Happy Dollars for Teachers Warehouse.

Membership Anniversaries This Week

  • Byron Bangert – 19 years

Membership Birthdays This Week

  • Alain Barker, September 12
  • Elaine Guinn, September 16

President-elect Earon’s thought for the week comes from Rotary Founder Paul Harris: “It has been the way of Rotary to focus thought upon matters in which members are in agreement, rather than upon matters in which they are in disagreement.” 

And Earon adds to that: “Most of the really important stuff we all agree on. That’s what makes this a great club.”


Jon Dilts, Reporter

Charlie Osborne, Photographer