Rotary Notes 1/25/2016
Prior to the start of the meeting, Gayland Bender showed photos of Senator Al Franken’s visit to the SPARK lab at the Central Park Elementary School, which is funded by the Roseville Rotary Club.  Roseville Rotarians joining Mr. Bender for the Senator’s visit included Patrick Trudgeon, Lynne Megan and Pam O’Meara.
In Terry Carlson’s absence, President Elect Brad Kirscher called the meeting to order at 12:30.  The greeter, Julie Wearn, led the flag pledge and four way test.  Mrs. Wearn also provided an inspiring invocation about an incarcerated individual who listened to god and reformed into a role model inspiring change in other inmates prior to being released early for good behavior.
Visitors and guests were introduced by Mr. Bender.  There were two visiting Rotarians – John Risdall from the New Brighton club and Eldon Tessman from the Brooklyn Park club.  Mr. Tessman was selling raffle ticklers for his club’s 31st annual Wild Game Dinner, which is February 18 at Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park.  To order tickers or reserve a table, contact Gina at or 763-225-8886.  One guest in attendance was Maureen Rehfus’ son, Carl, who is a senior to the U of M.
Following introductions there were several announcements:
  • Jeff Norton, Deb Nygaard and Jan Vanderwall discussed the vetting process for the team of teachers chosen for the Rotary Educator Exchange Program that will spend two weeks in Sri Lanka.The group indicated all presentations were very impressive and the selection process was difficult but the group from Edgerton School was ultimately chosen.
  • There is a fundraiser for the Rotary Educator Exchange Program featuring the music of Jeff Norton on Tuesday, March 1 from 7-9PM at the Villa Park Condos Party Room, 500 W County Road B, Roseville.Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
  • Mr. Bender reminded the club of Twin Cities Rotaract’s annual fundraiser to benefit the Northside Achievement Zone.The event is 7PM, Wednesday, January 27 at the Summit Beer Hall.Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.Dinner will be served along with BEER and attendees will have a chance to win excellent prizes.
  • Jim Ostlund reminded the club that the annual curling event is Saturday, February 13 from 5-8PM at the Frogtown Curling Club.Drinks will be provided but bring a dish to share.Kids, grandchildren and friends are invited!
  • Mr. Norton is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Big Climb fundraiser on February 6.Mr. Norton will climb 53 floors in the Capella Tower to support a friend who has been cleared of blood cancer twice!
  • Jerry Hromatka announced the 2016 Taste of Rosefest is Thursday, June 23 and will be the kickoff event for Rosefest.The first planning meeting is 7:30AM, Friday, February 5 at Northeast Youth & Family Services.
Mr. Kirscher introduced our speaker, Steve Hammer, who is the Warden at the Stillwater Prison.  Mr. Hammer discussed current trends in restrictive housing (RH) practices.  RH, also known as segregation, isolation or solitary, is for inmates whose presence poses a threat in the prison’s general population.  In Minnesota, there are roughly 500 inmates in RH out of 10,000 total inmates.  95% of inmates in RH were placed there for discipline issues while in prison while the others were placed in RH for administrative reasons such as safety or awaiting transfer.  Mr. Hammer indicated that 15% of inmates in RH have severe and persistent mental illness.
While in RH, inmates spend 22 or more hours per day in a cell and have reduced human contact.  They eat in the cell and have reduced exercise and recreation time.  There are no TV’s and books are restricted (5 compared to 20).  When out of the cell, inmates are restrained.  Also, visits and phone calls are limited and visits are done by TV rather than in person.  Inmates in RH have the following tendencies: young offenders, no high school diploma, gay/lesbian/bi-sexual, violent crime offenders or offenders with mental illness.
Minnesota has fairly liberal restrictions for inmates in RH compared to the rest of the country.  Some states are under court order or are voluntarily making changes to RH practices.  Changes include better food, more recreation time, allowing phone calls and increasing contact time with other offenders.  States are also improving access to behavioral health staff and medical services.  Changes in process in MN include more frequent and timely reviews of RH offenders in an effort to move them back to the general population, as well as a step process for returning inmates to the general population prior to release into the community.