RCH’s First Friday Zoom Meeting!

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Members joined the Zoom event well before noon, so we had a few minutes to greet and chat. Then meeting host Kerry Glass rang his cow bell, and the first-ever remote meeting of the Rotary Club of Hilo began exactly at noon on Friday, April 17.

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President Anna Liu conducted the meeting from her closed bank branch office in Waikoloa. There were 38 attendees, including long-distance member Stan Fortuna, from Michigan, and past member (and Past President) Mike Robinson from Oregon.

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Anna’s Chinese word of the day: beer, written 啤酒, pronounced Pí Jiǔ.  Very useful!


Birthdays. Johnalyn Nosaka on April 5; Jacob Bratton April 6; Alan Kusunoki April 7; Toshi Aoki April 8; Wally Wong April 11; Sally O’Brien April 14; Bob Hanley April 16; Joe Hanley April 26; Joshua Countess April 27; Marcia Prose on April 28; and Alberta Dobbe on April 29

Wedding Anniversaries: none

Club Anniversaries. Lorraine Shin 25 years on April 1; Craig Shikuma 28 years on April 3; Kelvin Watanabe 1 year on April 5; Gay Porter 29 years on April 12; Beverly Heikes 3 years on April 28; and Reese Mates 12 years on April 29

Events and Announcements

Board Meeting. The board held its April meeting via Zoom on April 9. Board meeting minutes will be available on the club web site, as usual. 

Volunteer Surge Project. Anna and ADG Randy Hart spoke about this initiative to sign up one million Telesupport volunteers to help with the COVID19 crisis. It’s something you can do from home, with a few hours training. Dr Sten Vermund, Dean of Yale School of Public Health. explains the program: https://vimeo.com/406400491. In a second video, he explains why Rotarians should consider volunteering: https://vimeo.com/406420744.  If you’re interested, go here. When you sign up, you will be asked to enter your Rotary Club name.

Support Rotarian Businesses. Anna thanked Ed Hara for his initiative to list members’ businesses that are open these days.  Check your emails for an updated list, and send your business information to hpchilo@hpchilo.com.

Kupuna of Keaukaha. Anna spoke about the project that Misti Tyrin has helped organize. The Club Board has requested HRCF to support this project with a $1K contribution.  See Misti’s description in the Happy Dollars section.

Spring Training Webinars. You’ve been getting meeting invitations for these, on April 18th, 20th, and 27th.  Check your emails and attend as appropriate. Some are required for incoming board members, and all are open to everyone.

President Elect Nancy Cabral updated us on plans for her installation.  The date has been moved to June 27, and the event will be (we hope!) an open-air affair at the Panaeva Rodeo grounds.  Connie Ichinose is helping Nancy with the planning.  Put it on your calendar.

Nancy also made a plea to everyone to make a donation to HRCF, our club’s 501C3.  Because we’ve had to cancel Brewfest this year, the Hilo Medical Center and the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center won’t be getting our usual support -- unless we can find the money somewhere else. 

New member Induction. President Anna inducted Shane Shitabata into membership in Rotary. Shane’s sponsor is Anna.  Thanks to a special delivery from Membership Director Maureen Poirier, Shane had his membership packet in advance. To welcome Shane into the club, everyone stood up from their computers to give him a standing ovation. Shane says he’s brushing up his auto maintenance skills, since the Nissan sales floor isn’t open these days. And his Café Boba restaurant in downtown Hilo is doing take-out. Welcome, Shane!

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Happy Dollars

It wouldn’t be a club meeting with Happy Dollars, but collecting those dollars will be different. Donate to TRF online, and/or send checks for TRF, HRCF, and HRYF to The Rotary Club of Hilo, PO Box 7476, Hilo HI 96720. Or put that cash in an envelope until our next in-person meeting.A close up of text on a white backgroundDescription automatically generated

Tina Jimenez announced that her daughter Elizabeth was admitted to the Physician's Assistant program through the University of Washington starting in June.  Tina explained that program, initiated by Josh Green, is a collaborative effort between Hawaii and UW. When Lisa Rantz spoke about this at a meeting two years ago, Tina told Elizabeth about it, and Elizabeth applied. Tina says was a long process, but she is forever grateful to Lisa.  

Sally O’Brien says it’s especially important to keep in touch with each other these days, especially if you know members who can’t get out much.  Maureen agreed, and volunteered to set up a call network.  Let her know if you are interested in participating.

Maureen Poirier has some $ for TRF because she got to spend Easter with her kids. And she had a tip to folks who might need some extra funds these days: because of the pandemic, withdrawals from your IRA are currently penalty-free.

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Stan Fortuna is happy to send $50 the HRCF, if someone will tell him how. [Stan, check the beginning of the Happy Dollars section.]

Nancy showed us the very pricy scarf she won in an auction at PETS – the beneficiary will be Polio Plus.  She also has $100 for the HRCF.  Nancy also had good wishes for  Marcia and her husband Garry, who’s had a stroke.  Garry’s on Oahu in a hospital, unfortunately.

Misti Tyrin was attending from her car. She sent us some photos from her kupuna meals project.  She’s also thrilled that her son has been accepted at Kamehameha Schools.

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“I was happy to be a part of our first round of Kupuna Meal Prep Today we prepared 200 meals and hope to increase the amount each week eventually getting to 800. So far we have received $4,385.24 in contributions. We are expecting to receive $1K from HRCF and another $2K from Hawaii Island United Way. And we hope we will receive the RI grant that we applied for. Donate if you can www.hawaiirisefoundation.com and select “HYC food meal program”. If you make a direct donation of $500 or more please send me your company logo and you’ll be included in the next round of advertising.

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Jen Tanouye had $50 for HRCF to remind us that Benson Medina is still running the East Hawaii zoom meeting at noon each Thursday.  Email Randy if you lost your invitation.

Anna had her usual monthly $25 for TRF and this time it came with really big news: she has been promoted to Branch Manager over in Waikoloa. Yay, Anna! 

Kimo-Jim Becker also agrees with the sentiment about reaching out to fellow club members.

Chris Tamm shared that things are pretty bad in Capetown, South Africa; even the liquor stores are closed.  We are so lucky here…

Mike Robinson shared a joke that I didn’t capture, and also noted that his Lewis River club is reaching out, as Sally suggested, to check in with “shut-in” members by phone.

News from our Members

Maureen Poirier sent this on April 5:

“When I found out that travel to the mainland was shutting down, I took the last plane out to be with my children in AZ.   I have been working remotely largely on zoom during my time here and before I left as well. 

“I have been catching up with many projects, enjoying this time with my children, exercising and enjoying the outdoors.  My business continues to occupy me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help.  

“One thing that is making a difference currently is shifting my focus to what I am grateful for.  Gratitude dissipates fear.  And keeping an empowering context.  Focusing on what I can do during these times. 

Randy Hart says he enjoyed the Special Edition, and will contribute $100 to TRF.  Thanks, Randy!

Mike Meyer sent a photo from a 4 ½ hour ride in his Rotary cycling gear. Looks like that ride ended at the Hilo Hawaiian – he must be missing the meetings.  “Meeting Credit at least?”

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Gail Takaki:

“The Success Factory's NexTech STEM Program supported by the Rotary Club of Hilo has modified its Fish Tank team challenge (plastic waste) to work remotely with virtual workshops and final competitions. All Rotarians are invited to Zoom final team presentations on April 25.

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“Club members Mitch Roth and Gail Takaki have helped NexTech build a collaboration, Hawaii STEM Community Cares, with STEM professionals to assess and build personal protective equipment for healthcare and first responders during the current Covid19 threat.” A person wearing sunglassesDescription automatically generated

Helene Tajiri:

“Please visit the Waiakea Baptist Bible Church channel on YouTube.  Our own Pastor Shane Okimoto is connecting with his members online and via Zoom for online meetings.  Shane does a really good job! You will be encouraged and inspired.   Dr. Dan Belcher is also on with him at times to provide updates from the Hilo medical community.  

“…And on a lighter note, I’m working from home mostly on listings, researching, etc. because I represent more sellers than buyers.  I go into our office (closed except for our core group) once a week.  And at home I’m preparing special meals, both lunch and dinner, so Harvey is getting very spoiled.  I try to go walking every day, sometimes, twice a day, along with other exercises using  weights, stretching, etc.  I’m getting more sleep which is wonderful! I am developing a rash on my body and I think it’s from being with my husband Harvey 24/7!!   LOL!! But I do miss socializing with friends and going out to dinners.  Most of all, I miss my grandsons. . . no hugs. . . boo, hoo.

Alberta Dobbe sends her aloha, and this:

“Masks, masks, masks.  I am so proud of my daughter.  She has been making masks for family (even on the mainland), friends, a doctor’s office, and for Hilo Medical Center.  “As for me I keep in touch with family and friends by phone or text and try to walk my dog, Mo-Jo, every day between rain showers.  I do Zumba -- our local channels have a local instructor leading line dancing on TV. I play Scrabble with friends, jigsaw puzzles, and poker on my iPad. Beginning to get cabin fever, but better be safe than sorry.”

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Genie Phillips sends a poem she wrote 

“It’s kind of in memory of Jim” 

Beyond the Fence 

Beyond our fence, Where hills are green and dense, The wild pigs roam, And chickens scratch a home. I made a trail, Where tall trees bent and fell. Like curving vine, I cleared a winding line. On twisted track, I always turned, came back, To you, to care, To home, to love, to share. But now you’re gone, And I’ll stay tracking on. No back to home, It’s empty, all alone. Memories bring, The will to dance, to sing. I’ll climb that hill, But I will miss you still.