Rotary Club of Pottsville

March 2, 2016

PROGRAM – Cheryl Cresswell, Executive Director of Care Net

Care Net in Schuylkill County will be celebrating their 16th year in Schuylkill County this Fall, according to Executive Director Cheryl Cresswell, our speaker this week. Cheryl told the group that the company was started when a local pastor wanted the community to offer something more than criticism to young women in crisis’ pregnancies. They have been located on South Centre Street in Pottsville for 8 years, and recently opened the Real Options Pregnancy Medical Resources Center on Red Horse Road in Pottsville. That office is located on the lower level of the building that houses Comprehensive Women’s Health Services, but the two businesses are separate.

Cheryl described her job as very exciting, especially meeting so many interesting and generous people. They are entirely funded by donations, mostly from local businesses, people, churches and organizations. She also described a fairly new program offered by Care Net and run by Sarah Hahner, teen health director. Sarah reaches out to local schools, plus has worked with various churches and other organizations to try to teach young women to make wise choices.

Part of Care Nets mission is to help expectant mothers or couples prepare for their baby. They can watch DVD’s and participate in group programs, which earn them “Baby Bucks” or “Mommy Dollars” that can be redeemed at their New Life Boutique for things like diapers, wipes and formula. The New Life Boutique is adjacent to their offices on Centre Street, and is one of the ways Care New raises money. Other ways include a 5K run in April and an Anniversary Gala in the Fall.

Thanks to Cheryl for an informative program

February 24

PROGRAM – Anthracite Chapter PA Society of Professional Engineers

This week we had our annual joint meeting with the Anthracite Chapter PA Society of Professional Engineers. Dr. Aaron Clauser from Clauser Environmental was our speaker and his topic was “Clean Water through Stream Restoration”. Dr. Clauser talked about how as a society we’ve done a great job of messing up our streams. Many have been covered over or are the recipient of various discharges. There has been serious floodplain encroachments and agricultural pollutants. In addition, Schuylkill County has problems with abandoned mine drainage.

Dr. Clauser discussed watershed assessment and showed a map outlying some of the processes in stream restoration. Interestingly the first step is to study bugs and insects to assess what water is good versus what is bad. Then engineers will walk the stream with GPS, cameras and clipboards and assess what projects are a higher or lower priority. He described how decaying water source affects those downstream, and used an example of Wilmington DE. being effected by streams in Chester and Lancaster Counties.

He told us about several Best Management Practices including placing large rocks alongside the stream, and grass vegetation. There are several sources of funding for these restoration projects, including the use of grants, non-profits with foundations and large corporations funding the projects as part of mitigation processes.

We thank Dr. Clauser for an interesting presentation.

February 10, 2016

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

Lauren Womer and Joshua Donley from Minersville, Katrina Whalen and Christopher Pekarik of Pottsville, and Lauren Moyer and Jacob Evans from Nativity were our Students of the Month for February, 2016.

Lauren Womer is the daughter of Jim and Rose Womer of Minersville. She is involved in Volleyball, Yearbook Club, Prom Committee, Spanish Club, Student Council, SADD, and the National Honor Society. Lauren plans to attend college and major in Biology.

Joshua Donley is the son of Mark and Karen Curran Donley of Minersville, where he is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church. He is active in Vacation Bible School, and his favorite subjects are Calculus and Classics, the study of Roman mythology. He is President of the Marching and Concert Bands, President of the concert choir, Vice-President of the Academic League and German Club, and a member of track and field and Varsity cheerleading. Joshua participates in the Schuylkill County band and Schuylkill County Chorus, and has participated in the PMEA District 10 Band festival and PMEA District 10 Choir Concert. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Lions All state Band. His future plans include attending Susquehanna University to study Business and Finance with a minor in Music.

Katrina Whalen is the daughter of Walter and Denise Whalen of Pottsville. She is Class President, treasurer and 4 year member of the Spanish Club, and a 4 year member of Key Club, Ecology Club, Marching and Concert Band, and AIA. She is a 2 year member of Stage Crew, and is a coaching assistant of the PAHS boys’ tennis team. Katrina is President of the National Honor Society and a 2 year member, and a member of the Spanish National Honor society and winner of the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award. She is a 3 year member and captain of the tennis team and her favorite subjects are Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, and Biology. Katrina plans on attending Bloomsburg University with a nursing major and her ultimate goal is to become a nurse anesthetics.

Christopher Pekarik is the son of Christopher and Kimberly Pekarik of Pottsville. He is a member of the National Honor Society, has achieved perfect attendance, and won the Governor’s STEM State Project Award and achieved 2nd place in PFEW. Christopher is a 4 year member and trombone section leader of the Marching, Concert and Pep Bands, a 4 year member of the Brass Ensemble and Country Bands, and a 3 year member and lead trombone player for the Stage Band. He is also the President and Founder of the Chess Club, a 3 year member of boys volleyball, 2 year member of Spanish club and member of the Quiz Team and E-Sports. Christopher plays in Pottsville’s 3rd Brigade Band, and his favorite subjects are Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and Computer Programming. He plans on attending Rochester Institute of Technology and major in both Physics and Computer science, while continuing to play trombone in the RIT’s bands.

Lauren Moyer is the daughter of Brian and Ellen Moyer of Schuylkill Haven. She attends St. Ambrose Church and her favorite subjects at Nativity are Art, Biology and English. She is involved in Drama Club, Academic Team, Art Club, and National Honor Society. Lauren dances at the L.A. Dance Theatre in St. Clair. She has received several art awards, the most recent being the program cover for the Diocesan Education Convention, as well as the Republican Herald Design An ad contest. Some of her work is currently on display at the walk-In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven. Lauren plans on attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and major in Illustration.

Jacob Evans is the son of Gary and Tina Evans of Cressona. He attends St. Ambrose Church and his favorite subjects at Nativity are AP Biology and Accounting. He is involved in Cross country, Basketball, Track and Field, Math Club, Science Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Interact Club and Campus Ministry. Jacob is the secretary of student government and plans to attend college and major in Business/Accounting.

February 10, 2016

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

Lauren Womer and Joshua Donley from Minersville, Katrina Whalen and Christopher Pekarik of Pottsville, and Lauren Moyer and Jacob Evans from Nativity were our Students of the Month for February, 2016.

Lauren Womer is the daughter of Jim and Rose Womer of Minersville. She is involved in Volleyball, Yearbook Club, Prom Committee, Spanish Club, Student Council, SADD, and the National Honor Society. Lauren plans to attend college and major in Biology.

Joshua Donley is the son of Mark and Karen Curran Donley of Minersville, where he is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Church. He is active in Vacation Bible School, and his favorite subjects are Calculus and Classics, the study of Roman mythology. He is President of the Marching and Concert Bands, President of the concert choir, Vice-President of the Academic League and German Club, and a member of track and field and Varsity cheerleading. Joshua participates in the Schuylkill County band and Schuylkill County Chorus, and has participated in the PMEA District 10 Band festival and PMEA District 10 Choir Concert. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Lions All state Band. His future plans include attending Susquehanna University to study Business and Finance with a minor in Music.

Katrina Whalen is the daughter of Walter and Denise Whalen of Pottsville. She is Class President, treasurer and 4 year member of the Spanish Club, and a 4 year member of Key Club, Ecology Club, Marching and Concert Band, and AIA. She is a 2 year member of Stage Crew, and is a coaching assistant of the PAHS boys’ tennis team. Katrina is President of the National Honor Society and a 2 year member, and a member of the Spanish National Honor society and winner of the Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award. She is a 3 year member and captain of the tennis team and her favorite subjects are Chemistry, Physics, Physiology, and Biology. Katrina plans on attending Bloomsburg University with a nursing major and her ultimate goal is to become a nurse anesthetics.

Christopher Pekarik is the son of Christopher and Kimberly Pekarik of Pottsville. He is a member of the National Honor Society, has achieved perfect attendance, and won the Governor’s STEM State Project Award and achieved 2nd place in PFEW. Christopher is a 4 year member and trombone section leader of the Marching, Concert and Pep Bands, a 4 year member of the Brass Ensemble and Country Bands, and a 3 year member and lead trombone player for the Stage Band. He is also the President and Founder of the Chess Club, a 3 year member of boys volleyball, 2 year member of Spanish club and member of the Quiz Team and E-Sports. Christopher plays in Pottsville’s 3rd Brigade Band, and his favorite subjects are Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and Computer Programming. He plans on attending Rochester Institute of Technology and major in both Physics and Computer science, while continuing to play trombone in the RIT’s bands.

Lauren Moyer is the daughter of Brian and Ellen Moyer of Schuylkill Haven. She attends St. Ambrose Church and her favorite subjects at Nativity are Art, Biology and English. She is involved in Drama Club, Academic Team, Art Club, and National Honor Society. Lauren dances at the L.A. Dance Theatre in St. Clair. She has received several art awards, the most recent being the program cover for the Diocesan Education Convention, as well as the Republican Herald Design An ad contest. Some of her work is currently on display at the walk-In Art Center in Schuylkill Haven. Lauren plans on attending the Rochester Institute of Technology and major in Illustration.

Jacob Evans is the son of Gary and Tina Evans of Cressona. He attends St. Ambrose Church and his favorite subjects at Nativity are AP Biology and Accounting. He is involved in Cross country, Basketball, Track and Field, Math Club, Science Club, National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Interact Club and Campus Ministry. Jacob is the secretary of student government and plans to attend college and major in Business/Accounting.

February 3, 2016

PROGRAM – Frank Snyder, PA DCNR Forester and Joe Orlowsky, Pottsville Shade Tree Commission.

Frank Snyder gave a presentation on the Benefits and importance of Forests and threats to our Forestlands. 70% of Schuylkill County is tree covered and 60% statewide. There are many benefits of trees and forestland, including aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and protection of watersheds. Water is Pennsylvania’s No. 1 Natural Resource. PA has the 2nd most miles of rivers and streams in the US, second only to Alaska. Forests help to protect these watersheds. The Forest Products industry is also very important in PA. It is an $11 billion business, with $19 billion total impact on the state economy.

There are many threats to our trees and forests, including invasive plants and species, such as Gypsy Moths and Emerald Ash Borer. Development, wildfires, and poor tree cutting practices are also major threats. Half of the tree cutting in the state utilizes poor timbering practices. A typical bad practice is to take the biggest trees and leave the smaller trees behind, on the premise that those small trees will then grow bigger and stronger. The actual fact is most of those smaller trees are not younger trees. They are typically stunted or diseased trees, which will not grow and produce seeds for new trees. The better practice is to take the smaller trees and leave the larger, seed producing, trees in place to sustain the forest. However, there are no state laws which govern how a property owner manages their forests. The Clean Water Act which regulates erosion and sediment control is the only law that applies to those areas.

Joe Orlowsky spoke about the Pottsville Shade Tree Commission. The commission is charged with protecting and sustaining the trees in the City. They have two plantings per year, spring and fall, and replace or plant about 50 trees per year. They also monitor the existing trees for diseased or dangerous trees. If a tree is noted that it must be removed, they notify the property owner. It is the property owner’s responsibility to have the tree removed. A focus area of the Commission over the past few years has been the Baber Cemetery. There were 38 diseased trees taken down in the cemetery and about 3 to 4 more are identified each year. They are actively replacing those trees with the cooperation of the Cemetery Association.

Thanks to Frank and Joe for a very informative program.

January 20, 2016

PROGRAM – Tom Eltringham Classification Talk

Tom Eltringham joined us this year from the Minersville Club, and this week he gave a “Classification Talk”, that he separated into three parts, his personal like, his Rotary life, and his professional life. Before he started, though, Tom thanked the members for the gracious welcome that he and the other Minersville Rotarians have gotten from the Club.

Tom was raised in Branchdale, where he met his wife Pauline. They’ve been married 37 years and have two children and one granddaughter, a 17-month old who is the “Apple of their Eye”. He has an Advanced Amateur Radio License, and enjoys hiking, walking and target shooting. He and Pauline are members of St. Pat’s Church in Pottsville.

Tom joined Rotary in 1976. He was Treasurer for the Minersville Club for over 20 years, and was Treasurer of the Minersville Rotary Charites from its inception in 1997 through the end of 2015. He was President of the Club “a couple” of times, and also has served as 1995 District Conference Chairman when Bill Parulis’s father was DG, and District Secretary in 1994-95. Tom is a Paul Harris Fellow with 4 sapphires.

Professionally, Tom graduated from DeVry Institute of Technology in 1967. He immediately went to work as a Tech Assistant for AT&T Bell Laboratories, at the time the best Research & Development company in the world. Over the next 46 years, Tom worked his way to the top of the tech ladder, retiring as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff (DMTS) in July, 2014. Tom joked with the group that although his job was consistent, the name on the top of the W-2’s changed a lot. AT&T diversified and split, becoming Lucent Technologies and then Agere Systems, among others.

Tom detailed some of the projects he worked on, including Safeguard Radar Systems and missile tracking. He has worked in “clean rooms” and huge complexes, worked on lasers and underwater light wave systems. He saw a lot of changes in optic communications over the years and is obviously very enthusiastic about the work he did over his career.

Thanks to Tom for sharing much more information than could be detailed here and welcome to the Rotary Club of Pottsville!

January 13, 2016

PROGRAM – Students of the Month

This week we had eight students make presentations, four from Minersville, and two each from Pottsville and Nativity. We are trying to “double-up” on the Minersville students so everyone honored in the 2015-2016 school year has a chance to speak to the club.

Meg Schwalm, Rachel Sterner, Chris Leshko and Jonathan McBreen represented Minersville, while Ashley Strausser and Rebecca McCloskey represented Nativity and Taylor Young and Ryan Scanlon represented Pottsville.

Meg Schwalm is the daughter of Scott and Patrice Schwalm. Her school activities include Clas secretary, SADD, TAT, National Honor Society, Chemistry Club, Student Council, 1700 Club, softball team and volleyball team, where she is captain. Meg volunteers for St. Matthew’s CYO program and the parish picnic. She plans to attend college to become a biomedical engineer.

Rachel Sterner is a daughter of David and Suzanne Sterner, Pottsville. She is a class officer and a member of the National Honor Society, yearbook club, SADD, Teens Against Tobacco, chemistry club, student council and the 1700 Club. In the community, Rachel is a member of St. Matthew the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Minersville, where she volunteers at the annual picnic. Rachel plans to attend college and major in physical therapy or a physician assistant program.

Jonathan McBreen is a son of Carl and Colleen McBreen, Minersville. He is a class officer and a member of the Junior Advisory Board, Youth Summit, SADD, Teens Against Tobacco, yearbook committee and 1700 Club. Athletically, he is captain of the football team and a member of the basketball and baseball teams. His future plan is to attend college and study biology/pre-medicine.

Chris Leshko is the son of Terri and Charlie Leshko. He attends St. Peter and Paul Church and his favorite subjects are World History and Physics. He is involved in basketball and baseball and plans on attending college and majoring in Computer Information Systems.

Ashley Strausser is the daughter of Alan and Michelle Strausser of Port Carbon. She attends St. Stephen Church where she is active in alter serving. Her favorite subjects at Nativity are Anatomy and Art. She is involved in Varsity Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field, Interact Club, Student Ambassador, art Club, National Honor Society and Science Club. She has received many awards including Outstanding Student Ambassador, Distinguished honors, Highest Achievement in Psychology, Outstanding Effort in Advanced Pre-Calculus, and First Honors. Ashley plans to attend a college or University for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
Rebecca McCloskey is the daughter of Joee and Karen McCloskey of Pottsville. She attends St. Patrick Church where she is active in alter serving and church picnics. Her favorite subjects at Nativity are Calculus and Physics. She is involved in Competitive and Social Cheerleading, Softball, Interact Club, Math Club, Student Ambassadors, Yearbook, Campus Ministry, Student Government, International Club, Red Cross blood drive coordinator and Meals on Wheels volunteer. Rebecca received the All-American Cheerleader, America Needs Cheerleads Leadership Award, Outstanding Effort Award in Pre-Calculus and advanced Algebra 2/Trig. Her plans for the future are to attend Drexel University and major in Mechanical Engineering.

Taylor Young is the daughter of Dan and Darlene Young of Pottsville. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Quill and Scroll Honor Society, and has received the AP Scholar Award. She is a four year member of the Spanish Club, Ecology Club, Marching and Concert Band, and AID, plus is a member of Publications and Student Council. Taylor is captain, lettered and is a four year member of the swim team, lettered and is a three year member of volleyball, lettered and is a one year member of water polo, and is a scholar athlete. Her favorite subjects are math and sciences, and she plans to attend Penn State University and major in Environmental Science with a minor in Environmental Engineering.

Ryan Scanlan is the son of Douglas and Mary Scanlan of Pottsville, where he is a member of the St. Clair of Assisi Church. He is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society, plus a four year member of Cross-Country, Swimming, Spanish Club, Track & Field and the Leo Club. Ryan is also a member of the Ecology Club and SADD. He lettered 4 years in Swimming where he is currently captain, and three years in Cross-Country and Track & Field. His favorite subjects are Chemistry and Spanish, and he plans to attend Temple University and major in Pre-Pharmacy.

Pete Yasenchak gave the students and our guests a nice presentation on Rotary, particularly on our efforts against polio.

Our Winter Carnival contestant, Sarah Derfler, also thanked the Club for sponsoring her and said the experience has been a wonderful way to connect with people in the County. She is a 2012 graduate from Nativity.

January 6, 2016

PROGRAM – Classification Talk – Paul (Pete) Zaharis

New Pottsville Rotarian (and long-time Minersville Rotarian) Pete Zaharis told us about his life and career at this week’s meeting. Pete grew up in Minersville, where his father owned a cigar/candy store. He had an early interest in music, playing clarinet and saxophone, and participating in the dance, concert and marching bands, as well as being on student council. He graduated high school in 1964, and chose military service over continuing his education.

Pete told us several interesting stories about his time in the Navy, including boot camp in the Great Lakes area, playing in the Navy Band, and stints in Pensacola, Florida and Gulfport, Mississippi before going to Vietnam, where he worked in an Administrative Office and was trained as a movie projection specialist, among other things.

Upon returning home, he worked for 3 years at Coney Island before deciding to start his own business, Frank n Burger in Minersville. Pete ran that business for 35 years before closing and retiring in 2011, shortly after his wife passed away. He told the crowd that he does miss the store and seeing people and customers coming in every day.

Pete joined Minersville Rotary in 1993, and served as Secretary before serving as President in 2000-2001. He recently got engaged, and currently lives in Minersville with a dog, cat and pet snake that he watches for his daughter.

Thanks to Pete for a very interesting Classification Talk and welcome to the Pottsville Club!

December 30, 2015

PROGRAM – Today we were entertained by the Avenues Community Connection Choir, who presented some of their, and our, favorite Christmas Carols. Among the selections we heard were the 12 Days of Christmas, Away in a Manger, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Wee Three Kings, Silent Night, Blue Christmas, Silver Bells, Joy to the World, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, O Come All Ye Faithful, Jingle Bell Rock, Joy to the World, Holly, Jolly Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. It was a delightful program enjoyed by all!

December 23, 2015

PROGRAM – Fellowship and Christmas Carols led by Pete Yasenchak. Pete also gave us some of the background stories on favorite Christmas Carols.