Event Types

Humor in Everyday Conversation

DRC Sponsor: Kurt DeVore

As compared to other forms of talk, humor has some unique qualities. It requires a response, its consequences can be denied; it can mean less than and more than what is being said. Humor can establish people's identities; it can define, confirm and solidify the meaning of past, present and future situations by presenting accounts or justifications for actions. It can provide a means of social control, create alternative definitions or reality, and reinterpret past events. DRC member and retired Luther College communications professor Alan Lerstrom will entertain us with examples designed to describe humor as a non-literal form of communication and its use to create amusement, and how it plays a special role in our everyday interactions.

Dec 05, 2017
Dec 12, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Working Remotely from Decorah

DRC Sponsor: Roger Huinker

Decorah resident Brian Sullivan, his spouse Jennifer, and their four children moved to the area in 2013 from the Twin Cities. Brian grew up in Cedar Rapids, received his BA in Computer Science from Mount Mercy College, followed by his MBA from the University of Saint Thomas located in St. Paul. He is presently employed as an Oracle Developer for the General Mills Corporation, Golden Valley, MN, and works remotely from his home in Decorah. Brian plans to share his unique remote work experience with our members. According to a Gallup survey released this past February, 43% of employed U.S. residents spent at least some of their time working remotely in 2016, an increase of 4% over the previous year. A recent Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs report notes 3.9 million workers, or almost 3% of the total U.S. workforce, worked from home at least half time in 2015.

Brian's wife Jennifer is owner and operator of the Beyond the Bar Bakery, located on West Water Street in Decorah.


Dec 19, 2017

Federal Tax Law Changes

DRC Sponsor: Roger Huinker

Kelly Brickley is a Certified Public Accountant in the Decorah offices of Hacker, Nelson & Co., P.C. located on Water Street, having joined the organization in 1993. He is a graduate of the Universitiy of Northern Iowa and has extensive experience in individual, trust, partnership and corporate tax preparation and planning. Kelly is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants (ISCPA). He also serves as Treasurer of the Decorah Community School District Foundation. He will be on hand to speak to our club on Federal tax laws and help our members navigate and make sense of the many recent and unfolding changes.

Kelly is married to Katrina Allen-Brickley, Marketing Manager at Decorah Bank & Trust since 1999. They have 2 children.

Dec 26, 2017

Participation in Sister Parish Delegation to El Salvador

DRC Sponsor: Shannon Duncan

Landon Folkedahl, a 7th grade student in Decorah, will be speaking to our members about his trip to El Salvador in July 2017. Landon participated as part of a First United Methodist Church of Decorah delgation under the auspices of the Sister Parish organization. Sister Parish exists to foster mutual understanding and commitment to peace and justice among people in the United States and Central America. This objective is pursued through intentional linking between churches and Christian communities in the United States and in Central America. Delegations travel in both directions with home stays as an essential part of enhancing awareness and understanding and nurturing closer relationships. Landon was a recipient of Decorah Rotary Club sponsorship funding that helped make his trip possible.

Jan 02, 2018

Defense Medical Assistance Team Disaster Response

DRC Sponsor: Larry Grimstad

Dr. Kevin Locke is a member of the Defense Medical Assistance Team for this region and has deployed frequently to support major events and disasters. Most recently he was assisting in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He will be providing our members with interesting insights into his recent activities and experiences.

Dr. Locke is a graduate of the University of Iowa and completed his residency at Broadlawns Family Practice Residency in Des Moines. He presently serves as a physician in the Mayo Health System specializing in family medicine at the Winneshiek Medical Center Clinic.

Jan 09, 2018
Jan 12, 2018
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Lynch Livestock, Inc.

DRC Sponsor: Shannon Duncan

Erin Golly is employed by Lynch Livestock, Inc., headquartered in Waucoma, Iowa. She will be sharing unique insights into the Lynch Livestock operations and business practices. As a family-owned agricultural business, owner Gary Lynch and his family offer over 90 years of experience in the pork industry. With the constant evolution of modern agricultural, Lynch Livestock seeks to provide exceptional customer service, the latest technologies, and highly resourceful market information to its customers. The company places value in the humane handling and care of all livestock, environmentally sound practices in its day-to-day operations, and substantial philanthropy through the Lynch Family Foundation. Lynch Livestock and its subsidiary companies employ over 600 people and include Lynch BBQ, Premium Iowa Pork, GJL Farms, PCI Advisory Services, American Farmers Insurance, Spillville Mill, Waucoma Tire Company, Wagoner Brothers Repair, Livestock Express and numerous pork marketing locations across the Midwest.

Jan 16, 2018

Aerospace Engineering Experience at Iowa State University

DRC Sponsor: Cindy Schissel

Iowa State University Professor Emeritus and DRC member Jim Iversen will be speaking to our club on his experiences as a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University. During his professional career Jim spent time working for both public and private enterprises. He was an Assistant Drawing Instructor (1952-1953) at Dana College, a Highway Inspector (1953) for the Iowa State Highway Commission, and an Engineering Assistant (1954, 1955) for both the Allison Transmission Corporation in Indianapolis and for Convair in Fort Worth, Texas. He worked as an Aerodynamicist for the Sandia Corp (1956) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Douglas Aircraft Company (1958) before being hired by ISU as Assistant Professor (1959-1960) of Aerospace Engineering. At ISU he was promoted to Associate Professor (1960-1969), Professor (1969-1996), and also served as Chair (1987-1990) of the department. In the midst of his teaching duties he was also briefly employed as an Aerodynamicist at the NASA Ames Research Center (1973, 1974) and also for the Boeing Company (1978). He retired from teaching and was named Professor Emeritus in 1996.

Jim's main research areas include wind tunnels, Aeolian processes, aerodynamics, and geophysical fluid dynamics. Many of his published writings deal with Aeolian processes, or wind generated geologic processes, such as the drifting of snow and sand, sand storms, and wind-generated erosion. Of particular interest were his studies of the Aeolian processes taking place on the surface of the planet Mars. He is coauthor, with Ronald Greeley, of the book Wind as a Geological Process (on Earth, Mars, Venus and Titan) (call no. QE597 .G7 1985).

Jan 23, 2018

Luther College Center for Global Learning - J-Term 2018

DRC Sponsor: John Moeller

The Luther College Center for Global Learning (CGL) provides a variety of international experiences to connect the Luther community in educationally meaningful ways with the larger world. The Luther CGL assists all Luther students in undertaking a meaningful off-campus experience through their support of year-long, semester, January Term (J-Term), and summer courses with the stated goal of at least two-thirds of Luther students engaging in a credit-bearing, international experience prior to graduation. They provide support for students and faculty as they undertake a wide range of international experiential learning opportunities, including internships and research, student-teaching and practica, service-learning, and athletic team and music ensembles tours.

Throughout the Month of February, a weekly series of presentations by Luther College students recently returned from several J-Term international trips sponsored by the CGL will provide our members with informative and thought-provoking insights into their travels and experiences. During this presentation selected Luther College CGL staff members will provide a framework for the student presentations to be given later with general information on the CGL off-campus J-Term studies and the motivations behind them.

Feb 06, 2018

People and Parks: Pastoralism and Conservation in East Africa

DRC Sponsor: John Moeller

Luther College students, having just returned from their Paideia 450 trip to Tanzania, Africa will share their experiences with our club. The People and Parks: Pastoralism and Conservation in East Africa course of instruction examines the tensions between the national parks movement and pastoralist societies through the lens of the Maasai people of northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. Of particular interest is how wildlife conservation efforts and ecotourism have impacted the relationship of the Maasai to their environment, in turn causing rapid cultural change such as shifts from herding to agropastoralism and wage labor; modification of coming-of-age rituals; and increasing adoption of formal modes of education and Christianity in place of or alongside traditional modes and beliefs. From bases near the city of Arusha and the small town of Moduli, the students studied “traditional” Maasai culture and examined the ways in which the Maasai of northern Tanzania are adapting to changing social, political, economic, and environmental conditions.

In advance of this presentation, you may wish to follow along in real time with the students through their online blog. It is available to all by using the following link:


Feb 13, 2018

In Frankenstein’s Footsteps: The Keats-Shelley Circle in London, Geneva, and Italy

DRC Sponsor: John Moeller

Mary Shelley composed her famous novel Frankenstein (1818) amid a whirlwind of personal turmoil, important friendships, and significant travel. The Luther College students engaged in the course In Frankenstein’s Footsteps: The Keats-Shelley Circle in London, Geneva, and Italy, having recently returned from their J-Term travel to Europe, will share with our members their experiences in retracing the path of Mary Shelley's  journeys from childhood to Frankenstein. They visited sites associated with her and her circle—including John Keats, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron—in London, Geneva, Venice, Florence, and Rome and investigated the relationships between an author’s historical and imaginative realities.

In advance of this presentation you may be interested in checking out the course blog from their travels, available using the following link:


Feb 20, 2018

Working Japan: Religion and Corporate Culture in Japan

DRC Sponsor: John Moeller

Luther College students, having just returned from their Paideia 450 trip to Japan, will share their experiences with our club. The Working Japan: Religion and Corporate Culture in Japan course of instruction explores the history and structure of Japanese religions and culture as well as their impact on communication processes and ethical decision making within and among business. Can Buddhist and Confucian values that shape Japanese culture be reconciled with the notions of success and profit? What is the role of social relationships in business decisions? What values does the stratification of relationships and communication reflect? These students have examined how history, economics, politics, society, and culture fuse to frame a business environment that can extract sizable direct and indirect costs. They also explored business settings and religious institutions during their travels in order to increase the understanding of governing principles as well as the practice of Japanese culture and communication processes.

In advance of this presentation you may be interested in checking out the course blog from their travels, accessible using the following link:


Feb 27, 2018

Introduction to the PIVO Brewery and Blepta Studios

DRC Sponsor: Kim Bonnet

Craig Neuzil, a retired U.S. Air Force Communications Officer and his spouse Sara, an artist specializing in majolica ceramic tiles and batik eggs, are owners and proprietors of the recently opened PIVO Brewery and accompanying Blepta Studios in Calmar. Craig and Sarah have offered to give our members an overview of their new, unique, and thriving business. They both grew up on farms in Winneshiek County. Craig's Air Force career had the couple living in various locations around the world for over two decades but they've always considered northeast Iowa their true home.

For an initial "taste" of their presentation feel free to check out their comprehensive website at http://www.pivoblepta.com.

Mar 06, 2018

History and Memory of the Holocaust

DRC Sponsor: Kim Bonnet

Kristin Davis is a native of Washington, Iowa and a senior at Luther College majoring in Social Work. She recently accompanied fellow Luther College History 299 students on a January-Term course in Europe and plans to share, assisted by a couple of her classmates, her amazing experiences with our club.

The History and Memory of the Holocaust course of instruction immersed students in the history of the Holocaust and the ways in which it is distinctly remembered in different European nations. The students examined the interrelated individuals, institutions, historical events, and ideologies that contributed to the state-sponsored murder of six million European Jews. They considered the ways in which this historical event has been remembered and commemorated, and the role this remembrance has played in the creation and recreation of national identities. Through the examination of museums and memorials the students compared the national histories entwined in the history and remembrance of the Holocaust, highlighting similarities and differences, and providing them a complex understanding of this historical topic.

In advance of this presentation you may be interested in checking out the course blog from Kristin's travels, accessible using the following link:


Mar 13, 2018

Gundersen Global Partners Vision Initiative 2018 Trip to Nicaragua

DRC Sponsor: Jennifer Gipp

From January 16-23 this year, a team from the local Gundersen Clinc traveled to Matagalpa, Nicaragua. These annual trips under the auspices of Gundersen Global Partners provides comprehensive eye exams and glasses to rural Nicaraguans who do not have access to this level of care. Our club sponsored current Optometry Resident George Bouras and one of the local Optometry Interns, Murphy Grotewold, with $500 grants in order to faciliate their participation on this trip. They will offer a presentation and will discuss the work they did while in Nicaragua.

Global Partners-Nicaragua aims to improve the health of the people and their communities in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua by promoting education and collaboration with Nicaraguan medical providers to improve access to vital healthcare. The program also supports changes that are seen as valuable by the citizens of the region and can be sustained by their own efforts. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti. Most of the country is mountainous and rural, making it difficult for people to access needed services and opportunities. The state of Wisconsin and the Coulee Region, in particular, enjoy a long history of partnerships with Nicaragua, making it a natural fit for Global Partners.

Feel free to visit http://www.gundersenhealth.org/foundation/programs-events/global-partners/nicaragua/#Why-Nicaragua for more information about the Global Partners projects.

Mar 20, 2018
Mar 31, 2018
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

The University of Northern Iowa

DRC Sponsor: Chad Bird

Mark Nook, President at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), has graciously offered to update our members on the current state of affairs and new developments occurring at UNI.

Dr. Nook is a native of Holstein, Iowa and began serving as the 11th President of the UNI on February 1, 2017. Prior to his appointment he served as Chancellor of Montana State University Billings (MSUB) from 2014-2016. He was the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin System from 2011-2014. He also served as Provost (2007-09 and 2010-11) and Interim Chancellor (2009-10) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and in a variety of roles at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

His degrees include a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics (1980) from Southwest Minnesota State University, an M.S. in Astrophysics (1983) from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D. in Astronomy (1990) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Nook and his wife Cheryl have three adult children, two granddaughters and two grandsons.

Apr 03, 2018

The Luren Singing Society and Sangerfest 2018

DRC Sponsor: Jim Morrow

Former Luther College professor and DRC member Dr. David Judisch has served as the Norwegian Singers Association of America (NSAA) Director-in-Chief of the local Luren Singing Society for the past 33 years. Dave will be sharing information with our members on the history of the Society and details of their 150th Anniversary Sangerfest in Decorah coming up in a few short weeks.

The Luren Singing Society has been singing together since 1868, when four Norwegian men started singing to quell their homesickness for Norway. The chorus later expanded by five or six singers and over time grew to its current compostion of over 70 members. The group has traveled around the country and has made multiple excursions to Scandanavia, including a dozen trips to Norway. The Luren Singing Society sang for King Olaf of Norway three different times and has sang for King Harold once at the palace in Oslo and three times in conjunction with the King's visits to Decorah.

In honor of it's 150th anniversary in 2018, the Luren Singing Society will host the 62nd Biennial Norwegian Singers Association of America Sangerfest (i.e., songs party) at the Luther College Center for Faith and Life from May 31 - Jun 2. Ten Midwest Norwegian American male choruses comprising the NSAA will gather to celebrate Norwegian and Scandinavian music and traditions with special concerts, banquets and tours. As an added bonus, the Brødreroster Male Chorus from Hamar, Norway, also will participate. The event culminates in the Grand Concert on Saturday evening when a mass chorus of over 250 voices will sing together with orchestra accompaniment.

More information on 2018 Sangerfest registration and ticket information may be found at www.nsaaonline.org/sangerfest.

Apr 10, 2018

Decorah Municipal Utility Initiative -- The Alliant Energy Perspective

DRC Sponsor:  Philip Iversen

Terry Kouba serves as Alliant Energy's Vice President for Iowa Operations and will be offering our members with the Alliant Energy corporate perspective of the ongoing, community-driven initiative exploring the feasibility of transitioning Decorah's electric utility service from the investor-owned Allient Energy to a locally-owned municipal utility. The Decorah utility franchise agreement expires on May 31, 2018 giving the local community a chance to consider a municipal electric utility. Iowa Code permits communities to establish a municipal electric utility if it is in the public interest. Terry formerly served his company as as Vice President of Generation Operations and as a Regional Director for Alliant’s Generation facilities, Director of Sourcing & Supply Chain, Director of Customer Service Operations, Director of Electrical Engineering, and several management positions in operations support. He joined Alliant Energy in 1983 as an operations engineer. Terry holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from North Dakota State University.

Apr 17, 2018

Decorah Municipal Utility Initiative -- The Decorah Power Perspective

DRC Sponsor: Philip Iversen

Larry Grimstad and Andy Johnson serve as President and Treasurer, respectively, of the 501(c)(4) non-profit Decorah Power organization. They will be offering our members the Decorah Power perspective of the ongoing, community-driven initiative exploring the feasibility of transitioning Decorah's electric utility service from the investor-owned Allient Energy to a locally-owned municipal utility. The Decorah utility franchise agreement expires on May 31, 2018 giving the local community a chance to consider a municipal electric utility. Iowa Code permits communities to establish a municipal electric utility if it is in the public interest. Larry served as President and Chairman of Decorah Bank & Trust Company for 30 years, and he has been active in several community service boards and works to develop additional community-based clean energy and energy efficiency and local foods projects. Andy, a native of Decorah, presently serves as the Director of the Winneshiek Energy District. His college and graduate work focused on ecology and natural resources management and he served for many years in sustainable agriculture and natural resources management, first in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, then with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and most recently upon returning to the family farm near Decorah.

Apr 24, 2018
Apr 28, 2018
8:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Haiti Rural Development Group -- A Progress Report

DRC Sponsor: Don Holmertz

Cheri Lane and Bethany Volz, both residents of Decorah, will be updating our club about the recent work of the Haiti Rural Development Group, a local non-profit organization formed for community development in rural Haiti. This group has been partnering with community developers/pastors in six remote Haitian villages. They are making great progress in clean water, education, and faith-based projects, as well helping their respective communities access electricity, passable roadways, and other basic needs that are often lacking in rural Haiti. Bethany just returned from a trip to Haiti where she had the thrill of being a part of the startup of one of the water projects.

Cheri has supported community development in Haiti since 2010. She has maintained a fascinating historical account of her experiences, intertwined with other personal, inspirational reflections, on her blog. You can find it at the following link: http://cherry-shake.blogspot.com/?view=magazine.

May 01, 2018

Machaca Summer Camp Program in Belize

DRC Sponsor: Don Holmertz

Decorah Rotary Club member and Magpie Coffeehouse owner Kathleen Ritner will be providing our club with insights into a Machaca Summer Camp experience in Punta Gorda, Belize and other information describing the region. Punta Gorda is the southermost town in Belize, and the capital of the Toledo District. Originally founded as Peini by the Garifuna it is today home to over 5,000 people from the many different ethnic groups found in the area.

The Machaca Summer Camp Program, under the auspices of Kabod International, has been hosting camp for over thirty years. The Program ministers to campers from ages 7 - 20, as well as children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. 

For more information about the organization or to make a charitable donation please see this link: Kabod International

May 08, 2018

"Peace Be the Journey" Awareness Bike Ride

DRC Sponsor: Don Holmertz

A representative from the National Alliance of Mental Illness Iowa (NAMI), Alicia Trout, and Decorah residents Mike and Amanda Peterson will talk about the "Peace Be the Journey" awareness raising bike ride in October in Decorah. We'll learn about the local NAMI support group and other projects and services.

NAMI Iowa is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with mental illness and their families through support, education, and advocacy. They advocate at the county, state and national levels for non-discriminatory access to quality healthcare, housing , education and employment for people with mental illness. They educate the public about mental illness, advocate for a comprehensive mental health system that provides effective and timely services for those struggling with mental health, and provide support to those with mental illness, their loved ones and providers.

You can learn more about NAMI Iowa using this link: National Alliance of Mental Illness Iowa

May 15, 2018

"Marieke" - A Film Biography

DRC Sponsor: Alan Lerstrom

Decorah Rotary Club members will remember Dr. Thomas C. Johnson, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Luther College, from his presentation of the story behind his film "Ironhead" last year. He joins us again to talk about his most recent work, a profile of Marieke Penterman, a woman born and raised in The Netherlands who now makes award winning Gouda cheese at her state-of-the-art facility in Thorp, Wisconsin.  The film, "Marieke," is on the schedule for showing at the 2018 Oneota Film Festival and has been chosen as an official selection by eighteen film festivals (and counting).  Dr. Johnson produced his first documentary film while studying as an undergraduate. He became more involved in film work during his junior and senior years at Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. From there, he worked with various video production companies, as well as BBC-Wales and PBS. During his time at Luther College, Dr. Johnson has produced a series of noteworthy biographical films.

May 22, 2018

Mosaic: A Life of Possibilities

DRC Sponsor: Samantha Scholtes

Mosaic in Northern Iowa is a Lutheran, faith-based organization that provides a life of possibilities to people with intellectual disabilities by creating a meaningful life, in a caring community, and giving a voice to the needs and dreams of the people they support. Providing services for more than 40 years, Mosaic in Northern Iowa is committed to providing personalized services in Forest City, Wright County, Waukon, and Decorah. Jenifer Bauer, the Executive Director of Mosaic, will be offer our members additional and informative insights into the organization and its operations.

To learn more about Mosaic and opportunites for service please check out their website: Mosaic in Northern Iowa

Jun 05, 2018


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