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May 19, 2020

Online Rotary Meeting

Getting Started

Today the Washington Rotary Club met again in a Zoom meeting online. Present were, in no particular order: Andrew Goudy, Tom Drewitz, Brad Montgomery, Dave Hart, Dave Moore, Bill and Susan Price, Dorothy and John Tecklenburg,, Lars Lange, Angeline East, Ken Baker, Mary Jo and Rich Podgurski, John Hopper, Carrie Richardson, John Quayle, Tom Northrop, Park Burroughs, Bill Allison, Phil Rush, and Susan Priest, plus our speaker Alisa Fasnacht from The Marketplace at Emerald Valley. A total of 22 members and one guest.
 
The meeting began with the ringing of the bell followed by an invocation by Susan Priest and the salute to the flag. 
 

Announcements:

  • There will be a road-side clean-up this Friday, May 22. Volunteers are asked to gather at 9am at the Jessop Place Part and Ride. John Hopper is bringing the reflective vests, gloves, and signs. Angeline East is bringing the bags. Bill Allison suggested that if people had grabbers they should bring them along to prevent a lot of stooping. John Hopper suggested that the club might consider another area to work on: the 70/79 split area is disgraceful. Would there be interest in taking this on as a one-shot?
  • Ken Baker gave a shout-out to Mary Jo Podgurski for the virtual graduation last week which featured the impressive youth who were moving on to their futures in this COVID time, and took a moment to promote Dan Baker’s “Dinner with Dan” every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 on Facebook. Dan is expanding to Saturdays at 6pm at the rear of President’s Pub. People can attend live and listen from cars in the adjacent parking lot. Dan will also be at the Sunday Jazz Society virtual brunch at 11. This week they will have a “name that tune” contest for a $25 mystery gift certificate.
  •  

Happy Dollars:

  • Mary Jo Podgurski was happy for several things.
    • First for the 47 teens at the virtual graduation. She said she is busier than ever before as she works with the teens who will be involved in the 8 virtual summer camps being held for 12 to 14-year-olds this summer. There are 115 registered so far. 
    • She is also happy for the upcoming Awards program next Wednesday, where Susan Priest will be honored as volunteer of the year. Here's the zoom for Awards Night (May 27th, 7 PM)   https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/ tZwkceitrjooGdIW0EEaeyI-fFXbrn6X-Jtb The password is   300882
    • Finally, she is preparing to teach her normal 6thgrade puberty classes this year. Instead of classroom by classroom, she will be doing it all at once virtually. New rule: parents will be asked to attend. Controlling a classroom at a time is different than a large virtual meeting.
  • Dave Moore was unhappy that he couldn’t seem to join the Zoom meeting and was reduced to calling in. (Later in the meeting he finally got Zoom to work and we got to see his smiling face.) When asked, he said that Shirley is still in a lot of pain and will have a meeting with her doctor on Thursday.
  • Tom Drewitz is happy just to be surviving.
  • Andy Goudy was unhappy to learn a close friend is ill with pneumonia, and hopes all will be well. 
  • John Hopper was happy to have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary on May 15. He feels he has still got it, since that day he got in front of the TV while wearing only his briefs and Sheryl advised him to “move his ass”. 
  • John Tecklenburg was happy to remind us that we are so privileged. Our meetings by Zoom remind us that we have access to technology and can use it. We are not sick and we have enough food. We need to be aware of how fortunate we are. This prompted Bill Allison to ask if any of us knew someone with the virus. Mary Jo Podgurski said that two close friends have lost loved ones: one lost a brother and another a mother. Andy Goudy said that friends who live in Eastern PA have died. He agreed that we are lucky to live in an area with fewer cases.
  • Susan Priest was happy that the move into the yellow for Washington County means that live in-person church will be starting. Due to the limit of 25 church members will have to sign up, but at least, after two months, she will be able to be attend in person and worship in a group after living with live-streamed services on YouTube. 

Program: The Marketplace at Emerald Valley

Susan Priest introduced Alisa Fasnacht from The Marketplace at Emerald Valley. She reminded the club of Alisha’s last appearance as a guest a few years ago as The Marketplace was just starting. Then Alisa attended in person and Susan is sure we all remember the platter of cheese and other edibles which she brought with her. Susan also spoke of the many ways The Marketplace has enhanced the downtown experience.
Alisa started by stating that COVID has changed for everybody the structure of business. We are dealing with a new normal and it will be with us even after things return to “before normal.” She said that the location has been helpful as curbside replaces in person, since the store is located by the parking lot. The Marketplace was a location offering groceries and acted as a bistro using all local ingredients. They now do not offer in-house or take-out food, instead focusing on acting as a virtual farm stand. Business has taken off as people discover and use the new on-line ordering platform located at themarketplace.farm.
One thing Amazon has done is to familiarize people with on-line ordering. People can order ala carte, or get CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes. These are available for curbside pick-up, and people can now come into the shop.
There is a delivery service on Fridays and Saturdays. On Fridays to locations in Washington and southern Allegheny County. Saturdays are dedicated to Pittsburgh locations.
There are over 40 farms and producers which The Marketplace aggregates. Right now the availability of produce is somewhat fluid, due to the cold spring weather. Being closer to the producers, and knowing the quality of their products is an asset. 
Recently Farm to Table Pittsburgh received a substantial grant from the USDA, and The Marketplace will be a distributer of 1500 boxes through this program, which is funded through December 31. They will include dairy, produce, chicken, and pork. They will be hiring additional staff to help with this.
Alisa explained that in this country we do not have food shortages, we have processing bottlenecks.
She works with Drew Ross to have meat processed in a local small packing house, certified by the USDA, but it has limited capacity and working up to that capacity every day.
 

Questions:

  • Does she work with the Food Bank?
    • She does. Every week there is a shipment to the Food Bank. Right now because of the weather, produce is scarce. The Food Bank is an integral part of the USDA program as a distribution point, but right now they are struggling with getting enough volunteers to pack items.
  • John Hopper asked if more could be done by the local packing houses.
    • Right now the local facilities are at capacity. The United States has had a policy ever since the 1960’s of “go big or go home”. This was in order to keep food prices low. The price we paid for cheaper food was losing many small farms and small meat processing plants. They are just not there anymore. Now we will be paying the price going forward for putting so much of the food industry into these large operations.
  • John Tecklenburg asked about the lead time needed to order.
    • Alisa announced that starting tomorrow The Marketplace will be operating for the public six days a week: Monday through Saturday (with the exception of next Monday, May 25, which is Memorial Day). On line orders are preferred, but phone orders are accepted, and some items take longer to fill. For instance, there is a 48-hour wait for fresh bakery items. They come from Mediterra in Robinson township. (They use flour from Weatherbury Farms in Washington County.)
  • Mary Jo Podgurski did not have a question but a comment. First of all, thanks. What The Marketplace has done under pressure in such a short time is admirable. She especially appreciated the mention of Drew Ross, who was a peer education with the Teen Center.
  • Alisa replied that Drew has renewed her faith in the future of agriculture. Too many young people leave the farm. Drew is a great brain-storming partner. The vision is to build a better food system. What this country had was fine, but we can learn to do better. She said “we are only as good as the people around us.”
  • She is a fourth generation farmer and this has helped her as she works with many different farmers. Some of her suppliers are Amish. One farmer has a landline, which is shared between 3 brothers. Other farmers have cell phones but can be hard to reach, since they are endlessly busy. As a farmer herself, she understands and works around these issues.
 
The meeting ended with President Andy leading us in the 4-Way test. This was followed by the ringing of a bell.
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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May 26, 2020
Club Assembly
Jun 02, 2020
The Rotary Foundaton and Covid-19
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Birthdays & Anniversaries

Member Birthdays
Bill Price
May 19
 
Anniversaries
Bill Allison
Colleen Allison
May 1
 
Mike Pecosh
Lindsay Pecosh
May 1
 
Mike Minder
Julie Jindra
May 4
 
Dorothy Tecklenburg
John Tecklenburg
May 6
 
Betsy West
Bill West
May 8
 
Bill West
Betsy West
May 8
 
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Linda Hepburn
May 10
 
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Cheryl
May 15
 
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May 18
 
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Joseph Gisoni
May 1, 1981
39 years
 
David Hart
May 4, 1976
44 years
 
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May 6, 2014
6 years
 
 
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