The Rotary Club of Strongsville raised more than $9,000 in cash and gift cards in it's annual Christmas for the Needy program. The proceeds went to 20 families, totaling 122 people, who were selected by the Strongsville Food Bank, Cassie Weber announced at the club's weekly meeting on December 17. $5,000 in cash was collected from club members who passed the hat at the club's weekly meetings on December 3 and 10. Walmart donated gift cards to the program.
Getting started. Mike McGhee got the December 17 meeting started with an inspirational Invocation and President Jerry Balint led the club in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Students. Our guests for the meeting included Strongsville High School students who are painting the hallways and science rooms at the high school, along with their advisor Jan Conway. Students attending were Alexandra Long and Elizabeth O'Neill.

Brenda. Our foreign exchange student, Brenda Castelan, from Mexico, reported that she enjoyed the day off from school on Monday, the result of the snowstorm. "It was really good," she said. On Tuesday, Brenda went sledding, which was painful, but also very good. During the week she also attended two basketball games and dressed like an elf on the Polar Express.

Get Well. A card was passed around for Sue Fernauld, the wife of frequent guest Rotarian Don Fernauld, Sue had a mild heart attack.

Thank you. Jerry announced that the club received Thank You cards from the Special Olympic, to which the club donated $250, and Camp Cheerful, which received the proceeds from our fall clambake.

Ding-a-Ling. Joe Santomen announced that the club raised $1,208 ringing the bell for the Salvation Army on December 10. This year we rang at two entrances at the Strongsville Giant Eagle as well as inside Westfield SouthPark mall.

Chalet. Brian Allen said the club will host its annual toboggan night at the Chalet for District 6630's foreign exchange students on February 9. Everybody is invited. Bring the kids and the grandkids. Look for more information on this as the date approaches.

Chili Open. Corporate Sponsorship Czar Bob Cummins said $28,100 has been raised so far for the 20th annual Chili Open Golf Classic. The latest sponsors to sign up were the Strongsville VFW and Altenheim.

New members. Our 151st and 152nd members, Libby Chapin and Jeff Kennat, were inducted by President Jerry. Libby was brought in by Laurie Meister. Her designation is "banker." Jeff, a financial planner was brought in by Rick Voigt. Jeff promptly picked up the drumsticks was joined in the Christmas party entertainment.

Christmas show. Ken Mehalko led a talented cast in providing holiday music for the club's final meeting before Christmas. Ken played clarinet, saxophone and recorder, with guest Doug Day played the piano, with new member Jeff Kannat on drums. Laurie Berendsen sang "I'll Be Home For Christmas," followed by a violin duet of Brian Allen and Cassie Weber, who played "Angels We Have Heard on High." Bruce Keenan sang "Let It Snow," followed by a rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," by Fran Oriti, wife of Rotarian Tom. After some holiday observations by Rev. Ron Mowry, club members sang out the morning with "Silent Night."

Queen of Hearts. The pot was worth $39 and the Queen was worth $446. The winner drew a loser and the Queen lives.

Thank you to John Turnbull
for taking the photos for this report. From the top of the page, the photos are: Laurie Berendsen; (left to right) Ms. Jan Conway with students Alexandra Long and Elizabeth O'Neill; new members Libby Chapin and Jeff Kennat; Violinists Brian Allen and Cassie Weber. To view larger photos, right click your mouse on the photos and choose "view photo."

Word of Wisdom.

Two guys are drinking in a bar.
One says, "Did you know that elks have sex 10 to 15 times a day?"
"Aw crap," says his friend, "And I just joined Rotary."

Boy: Mom, can I have a dog for Christmas?
Mom: No. You can eat turkey like the rest of us.

Father O'Malley was driving down to Boston on Christmas Eve when got stopped for speeding in Medford. The highway patrol officer smelled alcohol on the priest's breath and then saw an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.
He said, "Father, have you been drinking?"
"Only water", replied Father O'Malley.
The policeman asked, "Then how come I can smell wine?"
The priest looked at the bottle and said,"Good Lord! He's done it again."

It's Christmas Eve.
A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar.
The bartender looks up and says, 'What is this, a joke?'


"Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world."
~ Calvin Coolidge