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February 11, 2020

Getting Started     

The meeting began with an inspirational quote from Helen Keller, offered by Susan Price, followed by a time for meditation. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” Susan said this sums up the goal of Rotary.
     Brad Montgomery reported that there were 31 members in attendance and two guests. Chris Orvitz, filling for Rotarian Lisa Hannum, who is away this week, and soon to be Rotarian Joe Milarcic, from Community Options. Visiting Rotarian  Stephanie Urchick from the McMurray club also attended.

Announcements:

  • President Andy reminded members that there will be a board meeting following next weeks meeting. 
  • He called on Chris Orvitz to speak about handouts at every table for Domestic Violence of Southwestern PA. Thanks to the hard work of the DV board, and Rotarian and real estate agent Betsey West, they will be moving out of their hopelessly cramped headquarters to a new building, located on Route 40 near the new food bank headquarters. They will finally have office space which has room for only ONE computer. They will finally be able to store donations from the community. Dave Hart asked about donations. Chris said that they could be delivered to the new site, or donors can call DV and a staffer will pick them up.
  • President Andy then called on Kathy Sabol for an update on the Trivia Contest. Kathy said that there were only 11 teams so far. Every year it seems to take a lot of time for people to put together teams. She urged members to consider getting a team together for the contest. She said they are still collecting donations, watch for Brandi’s emails. 
  • Kathy also spoke about the second Empty Bowls, Full Hearts event to be held on Saturday, February 15 at the Masonic Lodge, 44 West Wheeling Street. This will benefit the Washington County Food Bank. For a $20 donation, attendees will receive a chance to sample soups from a variety of area restaurants and to receive a hand-crafted bowl made by Trinity School District students. She had tickets, but they are also available from Lisa May, 724-809-7861 or Joe DeThomas, 724-809-7861.
  • Warren Lemley wanted to let us know that Ken Baker was in a fender-bender last night at Southpointe when someone ran a red light. Ken is alright, but the car is not. Ken is out arranging for a loaner car and so not able to be here today.
  • Bill Mesler, our new membership chair told everyone there are member applications at each table.

Induction

President Andy asked Susan Price to take the floor. Susan introduced Stephanie Urchick, who she said was part of the “heart and soul” of Rotary in the district. She is one of the five Rotary International directors, and, incidently, has brought us 4 bottles of wine for the Trivia Contest today. Stephanie graciously agreed to add one more Rotarian to RI today by inducting Joe Milharcic into the club.
Stephanie began by giving a brief review of Rotary to Joe. Rotary is the oldest service organization in the world, in operation since 1905. It’s 5 pillars are: Fellowship, Leadership, Integrity, Diversity, and Service.
Joe shared a bit about himself. He worked several years for the Boy Scouts, where he met Brandi Miller, his sponsor. He works for Community Options, which works with the disabled to provide housing and job training. We all stood to welcome him to the club.

Happy Dollars

  • Susan Priest was happy to announce that programs are filled into May, also to confess that in last weeks newsletter she was a bit too generous. She gave Bill Mesler another letter in his last name, and she gave Rich and Mary Jo Podgurski 4 additional grandchildren when she wrote that their latest gave a total of 10, nope: just six.
  • Bill Price was happy to share that he and Susan Price had a chance to visit the McMurray Rotary Club which meets every Wednesday at Atria’s in Peters Township. He said the club has gotten a different vibe since the old Country Club days and he recommends it. Stephanie Urchick is a member, and had brought a bottle of German wine to raffle off. They asked Susan Price to pull the winning number. It was her own, and she promises that it will be available at the Trivia Contest to some luck winner.
  • Stephanie Urchick had two happy dollars: One for the customary warm welcome she received from the club today, and the other to promote a great program the McMurray club has. On the 2nd and 4th Fridays the club holds a sing-along at the Peters Township Library from 2 to 3. She invites us to check it out, as it is a lot of fun.
  • Chris Orvitz had two dollars: one for the new headquarters, and the other because she LOVES working for DV.
  • Brandi Miller was a dollar sorry for missing last week’s meeting when she missed the induction of her nominee Carrie Richardson. She was happy that Joe Piszczor stood in for her at the induction. She was also happy that she has been asked to speak to the Mon Valley Rotarians about the Literacy Council.
  • Stefan Getsik was happy that even though the new office is not quite open, his client list continues to grow. He was also happy to announce that the practice will provide services free of charge to all students in Washington County!
  • Bill Mesler was $5 happy for the great work of Brandi Miller, who has sponsored several new members, doing the heavy lifting for him.
  • Kathy Sabol was happy to be loading up her little Honda with tons of electronics for the county bi-monthly electronics in Ellsworth.
  • Rachel Lozosky was happy that in two days she will be in Florida.
  • Lars Lange was happy to have received his 2nd anniversary in Rotary card.
 

Program: Commissioner Larry Maggi

Joe Manning began by saying that Commissioner Larry Maggi really needed no introduction.
He reviewed Commissioner Maggi’s career: Marines, State Police, County Sheriff, and now beginning his 17th year as a county commissioner. He said that Commissioner Maggi has a rare characteristic in politics: He is not “sincerity challenged”.
Commissioner Maggi started by thanking Joe, and saying that following his earlier career some might think his job was not “exciting.”
He wanted to start with an overview of the county. Last year the county experienced $514 million in new investment. As a cheerleader for the county he felt that it was important to stress that county government does not create jobs, they work to provide an environment which can enable the private sector to create jobs. 
It is important to know that the county economy does not rest on the energy sector alone. Tourism, history, education, and manufacturing are also vibrant parts of the whole in Washington County. One key to our growth is the I70/I79 intersection. In Washington County, we are only 4 to 5 hours away from 60-70% of the nation’s population.
Another of our assets is our county’s charm. We have avoided so far becoming a concrete jungle like our neighbor to the north, Allegheny County. We need to grow, but continue to grow smartly. 
In history we have so much to offer. At present he is reading The Heroic Age, by William Hintzen, a book about the early history of the Wheeling area which includes Southwestern PA. The National Pike, the Whiskey Rebellion, and more all show our region’s role in the foundation of our nation. This corner of Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia is a treasure trove of history. Tourism in Washington County brings in $700 million a year. With activities like the Whiskey Rebellion Festival we do it right in Washington County.
He spoke of the learning curve he had when he moved from the Marines and the State Police. These institutions are highly regimented with a top-down control structure. You are in charge of the people you lead. In government, you need permission from those who you lead in order to lead them.
County government is like a small company in the service business, with about 840 workers. Its main services are:
  • The court system. They do not employ the judges, but provide funding and supplies to allow the courts to function.
  • The correctional system.
  • The emergency response system, 911.
  • Assessment. Nobody’s favorite, but county services need funds to operate, and it is important that this system keeps taxes fair and equitable.
  • Elections. The county supervises the election system in the county. Since free and fair elections are the basis of democracy, it is imperative that voters trust that the system is not rigged. This year new machines will be used for the first time, as the county has been mandated to provide a paper back-up to ensure that voters can feel safe that there is a back-stop in case of electronic problems. 
  • Quality of Life. He said that our three county parks: Mingo, Cross Creek, and Ten Mile, are oases which draw not only our own residents, but many from neighboring counties.
Questions:
  • Dave Hart wanted to know what are the three largest employers in the County.
    • The commissioner named California University and Washington Health System, but blanked on the third.
  • Mike Pecosh asked about the county airport.
    • There are not financial problems with the airport. The issue is the need to extend the runway, which would mean the relocation of Mounts Road. The Federal Bureau of Aviation has funds which it would love to give to the county to expand, but Mounts Road is the problem. The county definitely does not want to pursue eminent domain. 
  • Stefan Getzik had a question about the present parking situation in the city which is stifling growth downtown.
    • This is a difficult issue which the city government is working on.
  • Bill Price did not have a question, but reminded us and the commissioner that the last time he was here, he and the other commissioners were presenting us with a check from the LSA for $200,000 for the Washington Park Main Pavilion project.
    • The commissioner said that the LSA process is an example of a government process which is free from any taint of favoritism. It is not a “walking around money” process, but one with open meetings and open votes on projects to help fund.
  • Joe Piszczor asked for ways Rotary could work in partnership with the county. 
    • No specific idea was proposed. Key is for us to identify the need, know the rules for cooperation, and go ahead, similarly with how we worked on the pavilion project.
  • Bill Price shared that he first met the commissioner when he and Susan experienced a home robbery. The state policeman who came to investigate was Commissioner Maggi, and they have maintained a friendship ever since.
President Andy thanked the commissioner and gave him a Rotary mug.
 
 
50/50 
Winner: Susan Price
Non-Winner: Bill West
 
Bill led us in the 4-Way Test
             
 
Washington Rotary
Washington
We meet Tuesdays at 12:00 PM
W & J College, The Commons
60 S. Lincoln St.
Washington, PA  15301
United States of America
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February 1, 1979
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February 1, 1987
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February 1, 1976
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February 2, 2018
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February 10, 2004
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February 16, 2017
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