Event Types

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

Decorah Rotary Club Youth Exchange Program

DRC Sponsor: Jeni Grouws

DRC members Ward Budweg and Jeni Grouws, along with Iowa Rotary Youth Exchange Director, Elizabeth Daly of Cedar Rapids, will talk about the forward movement of our club's implementation of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. They will provide details on the opportunities available to students in our area through this program, the costs associated for our own chapter and give a timeline on our involvement. They will also answer questions, note concerns and suggest ways in which each Rotarian can support this important aspect of Rotary and its inclusion in Decorah.

For more information on the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program please visit this link: Rotary Youth Exchange

Jun 12, 2018

“Chuck Long: Destined for Greatness” -- A Biography

DRC Sponsor: Kelly Reagan

The Decorah Rotary Club is pleased and honored to host Chuck Long, former Iowa Hawkeye quarterback standout and one of the most renowned players in the history of the University of Iowa football program.

Author Aaron Putze, a fellow Rotarian from Waukee, has written the biography “Chuck Long: Destined for Greatness,” which captures the life and career of one of the greatest Hawkeyes of all time and the resurgence of the Iowa football team under the guidance of Coach Hayden Fry. Chuck will share memories of taking the field in five college bowl games, claiming a last-second win over No. 2 ranked Michigan in 1985, finishing runner-up to Bo Jackson for the Heisman Trophy, and being selected in the first-round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Chuck will offer addiitonal time for Q&A and photos. Copies of the book will be available for sale (softcover $18) and our speaker will be available to personalize/sign copies for the attendees as desired.


Jun 19, 2018

The Rehabilitation Campus at Wellington Place Assisted Living

DRC Sponsor: Alan Lerstrom

Scott Marnin, the Administrator at Wellington Place Assisted Living located in Freeport, will be providing our members with insights into their recently added Nursing and Rehabilitation Campus. Their Rehab to Home program provides residents with personalized access to quality physical, occupational and speech therapists. The skilled rehabilitation unit offers private suites with private bathrooms and comfortable accommodations. Regular care conferences are held with the resident and their family to evaluate rehabilitation progress and keep the family abreast of resources available for the transition home once therapies are completed.

Jun 26, 2018

NICC Workforce Development and Continuing Education Programs

DRC Sponsor: Shannon Duncan

Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Vice President of Business and Community Solutions, will offer our club highlights of the customized training, workforce development and continuing education programs offerred at NICC. Mihm-Herold has more than 25 years of experience as an executive officer in public and private nonprofit sectors. She has extensive experience in fundraising, grant writing and administration, legislative advocacy and building innovative partnerships and public relations.

NICC offers more than 67 programs of study, including online programs, evening options, and career pathway certificates for those wanting specific training to support immediate entry into the workforce. Programs are offered in a variety of degrees and within multiple areas of study. For more information feel free to visit the NICC website here: Northeast Iowa Community College

Jul 10, 2018

New Hybrid Schedule at Decorah High School

DRC Sponsor: Steve Chambliss

Mark Rhodes and Jason Rausch will provide our members with insights into the new hybrid schedule that will be implemented at the start of the fall semester at Decorah High School. The hybrid schedule incorporates extended periods of time for learning as well as flex time inserted two times per week, allowing students to work directly with teachers and reduce class time missed for activities. Hybrid schedules are often credited with providing better service to students by improving post-high school outcomes, additional time to aid students in laying the groundwork for college and career plans, and more opportunities for elective courses.

Jul 17, 2018

New Archaeology Project in Caesarea, Israel

DRC Sponsor: Shannon Duncan

Professor Dan Davis, Head of the Classics Department at Luther College, teaches courses in the archaeology of ancient Rome and ancient Greece, Greek, and Latin mythology and classical history. He received his BA Degree from the University of Iowa, his Master's Degree from Texas A&M University, and his Doctoral Degree from the University of Texas at Austin. An active scholar and leader of archaeological projects, Professor Davis is the author of many peer-reviewed articles and is currently writing two books. His research interests focus on marine archaeology, ship technology, ancient harbors, classical archaeology, maritime trade and seafaring.

Professor Davis will speak to our club about his new, multi-year archaeology project located in Caesarea, Israel. The Roman port town of Caesarea was built by Herod the Great in the 1st Century B.C.

Jul 24, 2018

The Longest Day - River to River

DRC Sponsor: Ward Budweg

Both Jeff Freidhof and our DRC sponsor Ward Budweg were members of a bicycle team that transited completely across the State of Iowa, from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, in a single day. It was Saturday, June 30th when six riders set off from Canton, South Dakota and finished later that day in Lansing, Iowa. Those riders who successfully completed the trip together, in addition to Jeff and Ward, included Lucas Barloon, Marc Folkedahl, Nick Perch and Matt Fassibinder. Come join us for an enjoyable recounting of this amazing bike trip.

Jul 31, 2018

National History Day Contestants

Program Sponsor: Lorraine Borowski

Pat Lien, accompanied by student from St. Benedict School, will be on hand to share information with our club regarding local participation in the 2018 National History Day Contest.

National History Day is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes the teaching and learning of history in middle and high schools around the world through a variety of programs for teachers and students. The largest program is the National History Day Contest. Established in 1974, the National History Day Contest encourages more than half a million middle and high school students around the world to conduct original research on historical topics of interest. Students present projects at the local and affiliate levels. The top two projects from every category are invited to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Aug 07, 2018

Advances in Immunotherepy

DRC Sponsor: Lorraine Borowski

Inspired by the suggestion of our friend and T-Bock's hostess Penny Bockman and her recent cancer treatment experience, our club will be visited by Dr. Kurt Oettel, MD, a board certified hematologist specializing in cancer and blood disorders and medical oncology at the Gundersen Heath System's La Crosse Campus. Dr. Oettel will be describing the use of imunotherepy in the context of his extensive background in the field.

Immunotherapy is treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. It describes the stimulation of one's own immune system to work harder or smarter to attack cancer cells. Its definition also extends to the application of immune system components, such as man-made immune system proteins, as treatment. In the last few decades immunotherapy has become an important part of treating some types of cancer. Newer types of immune treatments are now being studied, and they will likely impact how we treat cancer in the future.

Dr. Oettel attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and performed his residency at Fletcher Allen Health Care (now known as the University of Vermont Medical Center) in Burlington, Vermont. He also completed a Fellowship in Medical Oncology at the University of Wisconsin. He presently serves as Chairman of the Gundersen Health System's Board of Oncology.

Aug 14, 2018


Interested in being a sponsor?
Download the website sponsorship guide