Flag Lease Program
Please click on the link to sign up for the Grayson County Rotary Club's Flag Lease Program.  
Michael Gary - I Beat Cancer
      Michael Gary shared a video he put together about the St. Baldrick's event at Austin College last March.  It tells a compelling story of what the citizens of Grayson County will do to help fight childhood cancer.
      Michael appears to be your typical 15-year-old teenager.  Michael Gary however, is more than typical.  Michael Gary BEAT cancer!
      Brian Gary shared the horrifying story his family went through when Michael was diagnosed with cancer on December 6, 2017.  
      Before they learned about the cancer, Michael had been complaining about his leg hurting for some time.  He went through physical therapy in hopes of working out the pain due from a possible strain or muscle pull.  
      While the doctor was explaining the results of the MRI using all the medical terms including Osteosarcoma (bone cancer), Michael interrupts him and directly asked if it was cancer or not.  The doctor replied, "Yes, I'm afraid it is."  Michael replied, "Good!  Because I want to be able to say I beat cancer."  Michael had bone cancer on his right fibula.
      They went back to Dallas the next day to meet with the oncologist to plan the treatment process.  There are six cycles in the treatment process.  The first treatment cycle was the toughest to deal with.  After each treatment Michael had to be quarantined from others because his white blood cell count was so low after the treatments. 
      Once treatment was completed, surgery was scheduled for February 28, 2018.  Later that day after surgery they noticed a problem with Michael's leg swelling up.  Michael was taken into emergency surgery.  They had to remove the secondary artery from his leg (there are three arteries in your leg) and remove a section of his leg in order to save it.     Michael spent the next six days in Intensive Care and four more days in the hospital.  
      Thankfully, it all turned out well.  Michael finished chemo treatment in August 2018.  He has been cancer free ever since.  Michael BEAT cancer!
      The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer and donor powered non-profit organization committed to supporting the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.   The inaugural event was hosted on March 17, 2000 at Jim Prady's Pub in Manhattan, where $104,000 was raised by 19 shavees.
This year's St. Baldrick's event, hosted by the Austin College Rotaract Club, will be held Thursday, March 5, 2020.  It will be from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. located in the Greens Area behind the Wright Center at Austin College. 
Jim Rodriguez -  The F.L.A.G. Program
      Jim Rodriguez delivered a very inspirational program about his F.L.A.G. Program.  Retired United States Army Captain Jamie Lawrence was also in attendance. Jamie helps Jim with the F.L.A.G. Program.
      The F.L.A.G. program is about our beloved U.S. Flag, but, it isn't what you might think.  F.L.A.G. is the acronym for Fly, Lower And Gather.  
      In the fall of 2010, Jim was doing what most parents were doing, taking his daughter to school every morning.  Day after day, as Jim dropped her off, he could not help but notice the American flag being raised in a manner not befitting this national treasure.
      As a retired 21 year veteran of the United States Air Force, Jim said he would literally shuder every morning as he watched a school employee drop the U.S. Flag and the Texas Flag on the ground before raising them up the pole.  The sad part is that nobody could care less that our Flag was dropped on the ground.  
      So he took action. He called the principal of the school and proposed an idea to engage the students in restoring the tradition, teaching them the history, the etiquette and proper protocol surrounding the American flag. He enlisted the services of Staff Sergeant Jose Rivera, a United States Army Recruiter, and together they launched the first class of the F.L.A.G. Program. The support they received from Waxahachie I.S.D. and the school’s student council and administrative staff helped to bring this dream to reality.
      The F.L.A.G. Program got it's start on Columbus Day, 2010, in Waxahachie, Texas.  Why Columbus Day?  Well, in 1892, we were celebrating our 400th year of discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.  A group of students in Ohio, went to Baptist preacher Francis Bellamy and told him they wanted to be different than all the other kids on Columbus Day when they raise the Flag.  
      Pastor Bellamy wrote some words and told the kids to recite them when they raise the Flag.  Mr. Bellamy said those words are called the Pledge of Allegiance.  He added one condition they must adhere to while reciting those words.  Bellamy said that while facing the flag they should stand with their heels together and do the Bellamy salute which was to raise their arm up toward the flag with their palm down.  
      It wasn't until 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and we entered World War II, that Congress changed the salute to placing our right hand over our heart during the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
      The F.L.A.G. Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Mr. Rodriguez, Retired Master Sergeant of the United States Air Force.  They are currently in three states: Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.  Over 3,000 kids in 127 schools are raising, lowering and properly folding the U.S. and state flags.  In September, 79 more schools will begin with the F.L.A.G. Program.  
      At the end of each school year, each participating kid receives a Flag lapel pin, a citizenship award and a big ceremony for recognition.  Students who have served in the F.L.A.G. program for at least four years are eligible to apply for a scholarship.
Deborah Adams - Managing Local Ombudsman
      Deborah Adams, Managing Local Ombudsman, shared information about her role with TOCG (Texoma Council of Governments) and the duties of ombudsman volunteers.  An ombudsman advocates for quality of life and care for people  living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
      The Ombudsman program was established in 1972.  It falls under the Older Americans Act which was originally enacted in 1965.
      Each state has an ombudsman in the Capital and then there are representatives under that person.  Texas has 28 regions.  Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties is one region.  There are 21 nursing homes in our region with more to come.  There are also 19 assisted living centers.
      Residents of Texas nursing facilities have all the rights, benefits, responsibilities, and privileges granted by the Constitution and laws of this state and the United States.  They have the rights to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination, and reprisal in exercising these rights as citizens of the United States.
      Dedicated volunteers and staff comprise the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Long-term care home ombudsmen are trained and certified by the State of Texas to participate in nursing home open hearings, research complaints and ensure the best possible care for the residents of long-term facilities throughout the Texoma Region.
      After moving into a nursing home or assisted living facility, a resident may need help to continue a life of dignity, respect, choice and as much independence as possible. An ombudsman can help ensure that the residents get the care they want and are treated with the dignity they deserve. They support and protect the health, safety and rights of residents.
      A long-term care (LTC) ombudsman listens.  They visit residents, offer ideas and options, help resolve concerns that affect residents and supports resident and family councils.  They promote resident-directed care and protect resident rights.  They respect resident choices and independence.  They inform government agencies and the public about the interests and needs of residents.  They advocate for resident-focused laws and regulations.  They also help residents when a facility plans to discharge them.
      People who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may have little or no contact with the outside world. Many feel they lack control over their lives. A volunteer LTC ombudsman who visits regularly can be the highlight of a resident's day and ensure residents get good care.
      If you have a passion for helping others, a caring spirit and a willingness to learn, we need you! Become an ombudsman and help improve the quality of life and care for residents in a facility near you. They provide training, tools and ongoing support.
      Ombudsman services are free, confidential and available statewide.  For more information, visit
Janet Gott - Eisenhower Legacy Trip
      Janet Gott, Denison,, Texas, mayor, invited everyone to join in on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day for a special tour to discover the Eisenhower Legacy during the dedication of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial in Washington, D.C.   The Eisenhower Legacy Trip to D.C. is May 4-9, 2020.
      Janet recalled a time when she was a very young girl, and watched President Eisenhower and wife Mamie get into a convertible in Forest Park for a parade when he was campaigning for president the first time.  She said this is when she first became interested in politics.  Janet is very proud of being the Mayor of the city where Ike was born.  
      There are three legacy cities for Eisenhower.  Of course, Denison, where he was born; Abilene, Kansas, where he grew up; and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where his retirement home is located.  
      Janet noted that Eisenhower was a very popular president because he was a great General and made such a great difference in the world.  As one looks further away from his presidency you will notice the great impact he had on our nation.  He is responsible for our highway system.  Although we give credit to President Lyndon Johnson for Civil Rights, Eisenhower was actually the first president to sign the original Civil Rights Bill.
      John F. Kennedy once said, "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors and the men it remembers."  On May 8, 2020, our nation's capital will honor our 34th president with the dedication of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Square in Washington, D.C. Janet pointed out that although there are many monuments in Washington, D.C., there aren't very many for presidents.
      The itinerary for the Eisenhower Legacy trip to D.C., will begin on Monday, May 4, 2020.  Special rates have been secured for lodging at the Holiday Inn Capitol which is the host hotel.  Travel to Washington, D.C. will be on your own, however, you should arrive no later than 5:00 p.m. to join the welcome reception and dinner with special speaker Mary Jean Eisenhower, Ike's granddaughter.  The venue will be either in the Capitol Dining Room or the Library of Congress only for those on this trip. 
On Tuesday, May 5 they will travel by motor coach for a full day trip to Gettysburg, PA.  Mary Jean Eisenhower will lead the tour of her grandparent's retirement home, the Eisenhower National Historic Site.  You will see Camp Colt, Eisenhower's First Command, along with a walking tour of downtown that includes the church and other sites significant to Ike's time in Gettysburg.
      On Wednesday, May 6 and Thursday May 7 you will tour Washington, D.C. sites including the White House, memorials, and Smithsonian Museum.  Pending is a private tour of the Pentagon as well.  
      On May 8 you will see the newly dedicated Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial and visit Arlington Memorial Cemetery.  Janet expressed this dedication will be a presidential level event.  In fact, it will probably be an international level event.  Janet added that she wouldn't be surprised if the president of France was also in attendance.  Most of the living presidents are expected to be there as well.
      After this amazing week, everyone will return home on May 9.  The deadline to register for this trip is January 1, 2020.  For more information visit or call 903-465-2720.
McKinzie VanHerden - Grayson Crisis Center
      Mickinzie VanHerpen, Community Education Coordinator for the Grayson Crisis Center, spoke about things we don't like talking about: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  These are things that they help victims deal with around the clock.  Mickinzie expressed her appreciation of the community's support and all the volunteers who help.  
      She said her preference would be for the center to go out of business because they had no one to help, but unfortunately, that will never happen.  They have a 24-hour hotline where anyone can call, anytime, and get crisis support, information or discuss their situation and seek assistance to take the next step towards a safe and healthy situation.
      Their emergency shelter is available to those in need of a safe place.  Through community giving, they are able to provide all the necessary items for individuals and families as they transition out of crisis at no cost to them.  They offer rooms for families and individuals.  Advocates provide options to individuals as they choose their next steps.  Resources, referrals and support are an integral part of the process.
      The mission of the Crisis Center is to provide emergency shelter, crisis intervention, counseling and support services to women and children who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assaults.  They also want to create public awareness about the devastating consequences the victims face.
The Crisis Center have advocates to help the victims understand the variety of lifestyle options to meet different needs.  They provide support, help obtain legal and medical assistance, and find housing and employment.  They engage the children in activities to improve their self-esteem and assist with their educational development.
      Not everyone who needs help is in need of shelter.  They offer a variety of support to individuals who are needing to learn about unsafe or unhealthy relationships, support exiting unsafe situations, navigating the legal options available to survivors and much more.  They offer all of the same advocacy services for for anyone, whether they are staying at the shelter or not.  They also have various support groups to assist individuals empower themselves and stop the cycle of violence by understanding it and making new choices.
      Their Thrift Store is located at 1729 Texoma Parkway in Sherman.  They welcome donations of gently used clothing, shoes, furniture, dishes, cookware, jewelry, toys, linens and other items.  The cannot accept pillows or mattresses.  
      Clients are allowed to shop at the Thrift Store and collect items they need to begin and support a safe home at no charge to them.  All sales from the Thrift Store go directly back into programming and support for the Crisis Center.
      Mickinzie added that volunteers are a big part of their success.  The have many different volunteer opportunities with flexible times.  
      The bottom line is safety.  The Crisis Center is all about a safety when it comes to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Navy Captain James Rimmer
      Navy Captain James Rimmer, commanding officer of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, shared some of his experience with the Navy.  He also talked about where the Navy fits in our National Defense strategy.  
      Capt. Rimmer began by thanking those who have served in the past as well as though who have family members currently serving in the military.
There are four pillars in which the Navy is important.  First is to protect the homeland and our way of life.  Second is to promote American prosperity.  Third is preserving peace through strength. Fourth is advancing American influence.
      Capt. Rimmer pointed out that 70% of our planet is made up of water.  Eighty percent of the population lives within 200 miles of the coastline and 90% of all the goods you can buy came here by ship.
      The Navy continues to prepare for a power struggle with are mainly Russia and China.  Two other countries the Navy keeps a close eye on is North Korea and Iran.  The of course, the war on terrorism is a never ending battle.
      The U.S.S. Kearsarge is an amphibious assault ship based in Norfolk, Virginia.  It is one of the Navy's older ships commissioned in 1993.
It carries 25 aircraft, three Navy and 22 Marine Corps.  The are able to carry three landing craft in the stern of the ship.  
      American Naval Forces provide powerful yet unobtrusive presence; strategic deterrence; control of the seas; extended and continuous on-scene crisis response; project precise power from the sea; and provide sealift if larger scale warfighting scenarios emerge. 
      There are about 700,000 folks in the Navy today.  320,000 are on active duty with about 10% of them from Texas.
      Capt. Rimmer said he never would have believed it if someone would have told him at the age of 17 and attending Sherman High School, that he would go on to command a helicopter squadron and then command a large ship.  He said it is all because of the opportunities presented to him through mentors, coaches, teachers, community members and Sunday School teachers who all had the ability to influence his life.  
T      he Kearsarge carries about 2,500 people on the ship which includes 1,400 Marines and 1,100 crew members.  About 30% of the crew are females.  About 140 of the 1,100 crew members are either senior non-commissioned officers or officers.  About 600 of those are under the age of 26.
      Capt. Rimmer pointed out that when he went into the Navy in 1995, about 40% of those serving had a parent serving or who had served.  Today, it's only about 15% who have a parent with military experience.
      After high school, Rimmer attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  He then went on to learn how to fly airplanes and helicopters.  His first tour of duty was out of San Diego, California, where he spent about four years.  He then went to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was an R.O.T.C. instructor while completing his MBA.  
      He then moved to Norfolk, VA.  From there he went back to San Diego as a department head for another helicopter squadron.  He continued to fly and was then deployed to the Western Pacific.  Following that tour he moved back to D.C., where he spent about two-and-a-half years before returning back to San Diego.
      By now he has a wife and four kids who have been along for the ride.  He was then an executive officer and commanding officer of a helicopter squadron.  He then moved back to Norfolk where he was the navigator on the Abraham Lincoln.  In June 2017, he joined the Kearsarge as the commanding officer.    
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers
      Grayson County Judge Bill Magers updated everyone on a few things that affect all of us.  Two major topics included taxes and roads.  Best of all, it was good news.
      Grayson County is really beginning to grow, so we need to plan for the future.  Judge Magers noted that we need to plan for the whole county and not just Sherman and Denison.  
      Housing demands are growing rapidly.  Finisar is now up and running.  Judge Magers said that as we continue to urbanize you should expect Grayson County to lower your taxes because with growth comes value and with value comes money.  As long as we limit government and take care of the basics we should be able to lower our rate and that is exactly what has been done for several years now.
      Grayson County has some unique assets.  One main asset is the ample supply of water, both surface water and ground water.  We also have clean air as we are not in the NCTCOG (North Central Texas Council of Governments) which is the DFW area.  The North Texas Regional Airport is a 14, 000 acre airport with a 10,000 foot runway outside of the DFW Air Space.  
      Next year you will begin to see a 2 lane access road to the toll road coming into Grayson County.  Here's the big thing with the toll road coming into Grayson County. We are not a part of the NTTA (North Texas Tollway Authority) which means any tolls collected will stay in Grayson County.  Judge Magers also explained how the access road coming into Grayson County will not cost our taxpayers any money.
      Panda Power has the ability to expand their plant in the future so there will always be plenty of energy as Grayson County grows.  The DFW growth path is along the 289 and 75 corridor which means Dallas is moving this way quicker than ever.  
      2020 budget highlights include lowering the property tax rate by 6% which results in an annual savings of $24 per $100,000 evaluation.  A 3.5% annual salary increase was implemented for all employees while ensuring no increase to their health insurance costs.  They invested $1.2 million to upgrade public safety communications throughout Grayson County.  The budget also maintained a healthy fund balance in preparation for capital investments in transportation and public safety in the near future.
      As a result of some great budgeting efforts over the last few years you are going to see a new jail within the next 24 to 36 months.  They aren't going to supersize the jail but will put a jail in place that is right for Grayson County.  More on this will be coming soon.
      Another indicator that growth is coming our way, just 16 miles south of Grayson County you will see a 10 lane highway.  It doesn't mean our section of US 75 is going to 10 lanes anytime soon, but down the road a ways you might see I-45 making its way through Grayson County.  US 75 is rapidly expanding to the north.       Current construction is bringing 6 lanes to within one mile of the county line.  US 75 is now 8 lanes wide just 10 miles south of us. 
      US 75 is the most direct route from Houston/Galveston to the Midwest.  US 75 is designated a freight corridor by TxDOT.  Compared to I-35 in Cooke County, US 75 has more vehicles per day and more trucks per day.  Compared to I-30 in Hunt County, US 75 has more vehicles per day.  
      ODOT is spending $152 million to improve US 75/US 69 to 6 lanes and while bringing it up to interstate standards through Calera, OK.
      US 75 from FM 1417 to Texoma Parkway will soon see improvements to bring it to interstate standards.  It is currently the only stretch of highway that isn't up to standards.  Construction is set to begin in January 2020.  
      Other highway projects currently underway include ramp reversals at FM 120 and ramp reversals at Spur 503.  Other projects include improvements of FM 691 and the widening of FM 1417 from US 82 to SH 56 to 5 lanes which will begin soon.  Planning is underway to extend SH 289 to 4 lanes into Grayson County. 
Shelton Williams - Author
    Shelton Williams was traveling to Austin for their Texas Book Festival last week.  He took some extra time to stay in Sherman and speak to his old Rotary Club (Grayson) about his new book "Covey  and Jay Jay Get Educated."
    As much as Shelly likes Texas and being a part of the Sherman community, he decided it was best to move to the Washington, D.C. area a few years back.  It was at that time that his son had his first child and Shelly's wife Janell, decided she wanted to be closer to their grandchild.  
   To this day, Shelly is still known around Washington, D.C. as "that guy from Texas."  And rightfully so I might add.  He is from Odessa, Texas, and played baseball and football for Permian High School.  He has lived most of his life in Texas.  More on that later.
    Mr. Williams spent 38 years at Austin College, teaching and helping students from all over the world.  He has always been interested in international studies.  Fifteen years ago, Shelton started the Osgood Center for International Studies.  Their vision is a generation of young people who strive to understand public policy issues and who work to find creative solutions to global problems.
    Mr. Williams has written several academic books, but decided to write non-academic books with the purpose of helping students.  He doesn't write for sensational purposes or because he wants to write his memoirs.  Shelly genuinely admitted he writes to help students.
   Shelton graduated from Permian in 1962, but it was 1961 that has forever seared his soul.  It was chronicled the infamous Kiss and Kill Murder in Odessa, Texas, in 1961.  Mr. Williams wrote a book titled "Washed In The Blood" in 2004.  It is the story about the untimely death of his cousin Betty.  
    The television program "A Crime To Remember" tells the story about Betty Williams.  It was broadcast on December 30, 2015.  The season 3, episode 8 program was entitled "Bye Bye Betty."  Thanks to YouTube you can watch it online.  Mr. Williams noted they have been working on the screenplay for the past nine years and are finally getting very close to a final product.
    Mr. Williams hoped to escape Odessa, Betty's tragedy and the trauma they caused when he went to the University of Texas.  He studied different forms of government and graduated in 1966.  
    However, the summer of 1966, on the U.T. campus as you may recall, was another very unforgettable event.  On August 1st, while Shelton was walking across campus, Charles Whitman decided to kill people from UT's Tower's observation deck with a rifle.  Although Shelton and Charles knew each other, they were not friends, nor were they adversaries. 
    Mr. Williams published his second book in 2006, about his experience during those turbulent times. "Summer of '66" is a memoir about his life at UT, about a mystery man, and about a young man and woman who faced a changing and dangerous world in a courageous way.  Charles Whitman is simply a character in this true story.
    Mr. Williams  emphasized that in today's society we have become divided, sometimes hostile and if someone doesn't have the same political belief's as you, they are your enemy.  We are Americans and it isn't suppose to be this way.  
    In 2016, Shelton decided to write the fictional book "Covey Jencks."  It is about an amateur detective that lives in Washington, D.C., who played football for Odessa Permian, and remembers someone was murdered during his year of high school with her death affecting him the rest of his life.  Yes, it sounds very familiar.  Shelton is using his personal experiences as a basis for the book.  
    However, the person murdered was an African-American woman in her fifties. She was unimportant.  Her life didn't matter.  They immediately arrested her husband, who didn't do it.  It didn't make the papers as nobody cares.  Covey was very upset about it and had to go back to Odessa and become a lawyer.  He connects back with an African-American woman named Jay Jay Qualls.  They partner up to solve crimes and in life.  
    Mr. Williams' most recent book "Covey and Jay Jay Get Educated" is about a triple murder that isn't what it seems.  There are a lot of similarities to people and places some may recognize, however, the book is purely fictional.  The cover has a picture of Wynn Chapel on one side and Austin College's administration building on the other.
    Interestingly enough, there is some interest in a mini-series based on the last two books involving Covey & Jay Jay.  Let's hope!!!
    Shelton's next book deals with Covey and Jay Jay going to China.  He knows China really, really well.  He has made several trips to China in years past.  As always, Shelly does lots and lots of research before writing a book.
   Proceeds from Shelton's books are donated to Rotary International or the Osgood Center.
Cheryl Inman & Scott Sims - GuArdian Hospice
      Cheryl Inman is the area manager for Guardian Hospice, Inc.  She has been in the medical field industry for over twenty years.
      Scott Sims will be involved in their Veteran's program at Guardian.  He has recently returned home from serving in the military.  Cheryl added they will provide a flag ceremony for the veteran's who pass away.
      Those who work in the home hospice industry have a service heart.  It is their passion to help others to have the best rest of their life in comfort on their terms.
      Hospice care is a team-oriented approach to expert medical care, pain management, with emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored according to a patient's needs and wishes.  The team consists of medical professionals and volunteers.  It is considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care at the end of life.                  Support is extended to the patient's loved ones, as well.  At the center of hospice is the belief that each of us has the right to die pain-free with dignity and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow the hospice team to do so.  Hospice respects a patient's wishes, always.
      Those who have a disease or illness that is expected to shorten life can benefit from hospice care.  Treatment and tries to cure the disease become more of a burden than benefit.  Focus becomes on spending the remainder of life as comfortable as possible in a setting that you choose, wherever you call home.
      One of the greatest fears is dying alone.  We fear dying in pain.  We would prefer, if possible, to spend our final phase of life at home, pain-free, and surrounded by the people and things we love.  An end-of-life care option that provides dying patients and their loved ones with comfort, compassion, and dignity does exist.  
      Hospice is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, with few out-of-pocket costs to the patient.  The Medicare hospice benefit covers costs related to the terminal illness, including the services of the hospice team, medication, medical equipment and supplies.  Medicare reimburses for different levels of hospice care recognizing sometimes patients require special attention.
      Patients must meet two qualifications for hospice.  Two physicians, the attending physician and the hospice medical director, must certify the patient is terminally ill, with a six month or less life expectancy if the disease takes its normal course.
      Cheryl noted that not every hospice care company is the same.   She asked that you do your homework in order to select the best one for you.  
Matt Osborne - Operation Underground Railroad
      Matt Osborne is the Director of Special Projects for Operation Underground Railroad.  He spent twelve years in Washington working with the Central Intelligence Agency.  
      Matt worked during the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.  He has worked undercover in Spain, Venezuela, and Mexico.            During that time he witnessed something called the trafficking and persons report for the Department of State.
Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) is a non-profit founded by Tim Ballard which assists governments around the world in the rescue of human trafficking and sex trafficking victims, with a special focus on children. O.U.R. also aids with planning, prevention, capture, and prosecution of offenders, and works with partner organizations for prevention, victim recovery, strengthened awareness, and fundraising efforts. The organization has been documented for their covert operations with jump teams consisting of former CIA agents, U.S. Special Operations Forces Members, and other support volunteers. Operation Underground Railroad's ultimate goal is to eliminate Sex Trafficking world-wide.
      O.U.R. works with supporting governments and organizations in one or more of the following activities: prevention, discovery, preparation, rescue, and victim recovery programs. Operations are segments of any coordinated effort, training and/or direct involvement to rescue enslaved children. Operation Underground Railroad does not work independently, or without government participation and support.
      O.U.R. shares the mission to save children and seek justice for those who victimize them, therefore O.U.R. is committed to enhancing law enforcement efforts by providing resources where budget shortfalls prohibit a child pornography, child exploitation or human trafficking operation from going forward. O.U.R. will also provide or facilitate child exploitation investigative training in U.S. jurisdictions where a need exists. Collaborating with law enforcement will reduce duplication, promote best practices and avoid other potential issues which might arise without close coordination.
      O.U.R. will first assess the feasibility of rescue. They must take into account the willingness of local authorities to work with them since the not only want to save the children but arrest the perpetrators as well. They also want everything to be done legally and above board.
      They research the location, the children and the background of those who are running the sex ring. They also search for vetted care facilities that will take the children once they are rescued and not only give them food and shelter but rehabilitate them as well. In some instances the children are able to return to their families.
They will then design a strategy for rescuing the children. As former CIA, Navy Seals, Special Agents, etc., they have a very unique skill set to make this happen safely, efficiently and legally. They provide local law enforcement training to support and sustain anti-trafficking operations.
      Next, they take action. Obviously this is the most dangerous part of the operation but one well worth taking. In some instances they go undercover and arrange to "buy" a child as if they were a customer. After the purchase, they move in with the police, arrest those responsible and rescue the children. In other cases, they may act as a "client" looking for favors, etc. Again, they work with local authorities to make sure everything is done to protect the children and that the perpetrators are arrested.
      The recovered children's lives will never be the same. Their innocence has been stolen and they need help to readjust to a better world. Therapy can be provided as well as food and shelter at a pre-screened facility.
      They arrest, try, and convict the perpetrators. They follow this process every step of the way to make sure they don't traffic children again. In many cases the perpetrators were sex slaves and victims of trafficking themselves and know no better way to survive. 
      O.U.R. is committed to the journey of supporting survivors in their healing process. They assesses aftercare centers around the world, which consists of partnering with different organizations, safe homes and aftercare centers. Aftercare also works directly in collaboration with the O.U.R. Jump Team and government officials to communicate the assessments and potential aftercare centers for children. They then assist in the communication to the center about upcoming rescues and the predicted needs, such as additional social workers or medical professionals in-country.
Cathy Van Bebber - Texas Master Naturalist - Bluestem Chapter
      Cathy Van Bebber is a founding member and Director of Training and Recruitment for the Bluestem Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists.  The Texas Master Naturalist program is designed to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension serve as sponsors for the program.
      The Bluestem Chapter is the local organization. Most of their efforts are done at Hagerman Wildlife Refuge and Eisenhower State Park.
Texas has a population of 26 million.  Texas is very diverse as well with 180 species of mammals, 639 species of birds and 230 species of reptiles and amphibians, 240 species of fish, and one of the most ecologically diverse states.  Texas has eleven ecological regions.
      Everything from Canada down to San Antonio was once prairieland.  It is called the Great Plains Prairie that covers half-a-million square miles.  Unfortunately, almost all of it is gone today.  
      We are part of the Blackland Prairie that runs from right below Denison down to San Antonio.  It contains some of the best soil in the state and the big reason why all of the big cities are located where they are.  It encompassed 17,000 square miles and in the day it was covered with all kinds of grasses.  Bison and antelope roamed all over the area.  Less than on percent of this prairie remains today.  
      Cathy said that all of the trees we see today are not native.  They didn't exist back then except for a few around creeks or rivers.  Texas was dominated by tall grasses such as big bluestem, Indian grass, little bluestem, gamagrass and switch grass.  The grasses would be so tall that when a man was riding a horse through the grass, all you could see was his hat.
      In 2011, Cathy said ten of them got together because they had heard of the Texas Master Naturalist Program and wanted to do something locally.  So in 2012, they started the Bluestem Chapter.  Their goal and the goal of the whole program is to improve the public understanding of what should be done, what could be done and what needs to be done.
      They began with 10 members and have grown to 40 active members, plus they have 10 more in training.  The Bluestem Chapter has contributed 15,601 service hours and 2,000 hours of advanced training which equals $359,000 worth of service to Texas.
      Since the inception of the Texas Master Naturalist program in 1997, with the first chapter in San Antonio, they have grown to 48 chapters.  They have also exported the program to other states.  They had 10,000 certified Naturalists as of 2017.  They have contributed almost 3 million hours of service to the state of Texas, which equals about $55 million worth of service. They have worked on about 250,000 acres and reached 2 million Texans through their program.  
      Cathy shared the many programs they offer free of charge to all groups.  She also talked about a few of the many things they do at Hagerman and Eisenhower.  
      To learn more about the Texas Master Naturalist Program, visit their website at or the local chapter at
Dr. Judy Cook - The Orchid Whisperer
      Dr. Judy Cook told us everything we wanted to know about Orchids last week and then some.  The a/v presentation was definitely one of the best with the "a" part being aroma.
      Judy began raising orchids 40 years ago.  It was when she began her first year of psychiatric residency.  She claims that not only has it become a hobby and an obsession, but it w as lifesaver by giving her time away from patients. Judy really became involved when she became an orchid judge.  
      Orchids make up 10% of all blooming plants on the planet.  So why don't we see them everywhere?  Well, it's because we live in North America.  They are very abundant in South America, Asia and Europe.  There are about 30,000 species or orchids and about a half a million hybrids.
      Orchid seeds are like dust. They are literally just the nucleus and cell membrane.  As a result, they can travel a long way but when they land they require special conditions in order to survive and grow.  Orchids are also one of the very first things to be cloned.
     There is one particular orchid that we all unknowingly know about.  It is the vanilla orchid.  The vanilla orchid is also the only orchid that grows as a vine.  In order for vanilla orchids to produce pods (commonly referred to as beans), the plant must be pollinated by hummingbirds or a specific species of bees native to Central America. Furthermore, the flowers are only open for a short period of time. In order to harvest vanilla commercially, therefore, the plants must be hand-pollinated.
      Chrysanthemums, poinsettias and orchids are the most popular plants grown in pots.  Judy noted you will see them everywhere in Europe.  Although orchids will grow pracically anywhere but on a sheet of ice, they have to be grown in similar conditions they are native to.  Orchids native to cooler climates will not grow well in Texas.  Those native to hot, humid climates will grow in Texas.  
      There are many different sizes ranging from very small plants that would fit on your finger to very large.  Large orchids have leaves that are eight to twelve inches long with flowers three to five inches across.
      A majority of orchids are perennial, which grow anchored to trees or shrubs in the tropics or subtropics.  Some species grow on rocks or very rocky soil.  Others are terrestrial and can be found in habitat areas such as grasslands or forest. 
      When looking for an orchid it’s best to shop at a reputable orchid nursery or online seller because they will be able to tell you how to properly care for the particular orchid that you purchase. You can also find them in big box stores. The orchids sold in these stores are usually hybrids that have been bred for hardiness, which makes them great beginner orchids. The Phalaenopsis orchid is one of the most common you will find.
Pete Havel - "The Arsonist In The Office"
      Pete Havel is the author of "The Arsonist In The Office:  Fireproofing Your Life Against Toxic Coworkers, Bosses, Employees and Cultures".  He is an experienced lobbyist, political consultant and crisis communications pro who has served numerous leading business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business and Associated Builders and Contractors.
      Mr. Havel shared a story about a time he was hired for a job that offered great pay, benefits and all the things anyone would want in job. After he accepted the job and began learning about he culture of the company he was hearing some strange things.  A few days later, Pete's boss called him into his office and shared some information he claims he should have told Pete before he accepted the job.  
      There was a lady in the office that was very difficult, so to speak.  He said she had filed numerous complaints ranging from working conditions to sexual harassment.  She was also very unhappy that Pete was working there.  Pete's boss said they couldn't fire her because she could do more harm for the company on the outside.
      In Pete's book, he talks about how millions of people live in unnecessarily stressful and dysfunctional conditions every day because of toxic coworkers and cultures, while decision makers watch from he sidelines or protect themselves at the expense of their organizations.
      Pete claims that with the right tools, anyone can identify and protect themselves and their organizations.  His book offers tools and tactics that everyone can use to protect themselves and their organizations against toxic people and cultures that destroy careers, morale, productivity, reputations and financial success.
      Pete said there are plenty of books on the toxic workplace but his book is from his experiences of working right in the middle of a toxic working environment.  He lived to tell about it.  What he learned, you need to know.  What he witnessed, you need to understand.  When you are out of answers and feeling confusion or desperation on how to respond to tough workplace situations, Pete is confident his book will be very helpful.
Anne-Marie Schenk - Texoma Medical Center
    Anne-Marie Schenk has been the Chief Nursing Officer at Texoma Medical Center since June 2018.  She was the C.N.O. at Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas, NV, before coming to TMC.
    Memorial Hospital opened in Denison in  1965.  The name was changed to Texoma Medical Center in 1976, to reflect a more regional focus.  In 2007, Universal Health Services purchased TMC and agreed to build a replacement hospital.  The new hospital located on the northeast corner of Hwy 75 and 691 opened in December 2009.
    Only six floors of the eight story building were operational with 226 beds, 1,200 employees and 120 medical staff.  In 2014, the seventh floor was completed.  In 2015, the eighth floor was finished adding 76 more beds.  Also in 2015, TMC built two additional OR's, acquired two Urgent Care Clinics, and began managing the Bonham Hospital.  In 2018, they opened a new 4-story patient tower with an expanded emergency room on the first floor, 20 additional ICU beds on the second floor and 20 women services beds with a 12 bed private NICU on the third floor.  
   This past March they finished the build out of the fourth floor adding 16 more patient rooms.  They are currently in the process of constructing a shelled 5th and 6th floor on top of the new tower to accommodate future growth which should be completed in November.
    TMC has 3,500 employees system wide.  They have a medical staff of over 400.  They are licensed for 414 beds.
    In 2018, they had 61,000 emergency department visits, delivered 1,200 babies, had 17,600 inpatient admissions and performed 16,600 surgeries.
    Mrs. Schenk the spoke on the services offered by TMC.  The Texoma Heart Institute is the only facility in the Texoma region that offers transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in their Cardiology Department.  TMC has the only region's Cardiovascular Surgery program that performs Open Heart and Beating Heart Bypass surgery.  TMC is the region's only accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI.
    Their Robotic Surgery Center currently performs gynecologic and general surgeries.  They recently purchased the new daVinci XI Surgical System which will allow their cardiothoracic surgeons to perform minimally invasive robotic thoracic and eventually heart procedures robotically.
    Their Orthopedic Surgery Department received the Joint Commission Gold Seal for Hip and Knee Joint Replacements.  They have a new Total Joint Fellowship trained surgeon who just joined TexomaCare.
   TMC has the only Neurosurgery program in the region.  
   They furthered their lifesaving capabilities when they opened a neurointerventional suite in the summer of 2017, for advanced diagnosis and treatment of stroke.  TMC was recently recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke GOLD PLUS with Honor Roll Elite Plus Award.
    They have 12 uniquely designed, private rooms in their Newborn Intensive Care Unit.  This is the first and only NICU in the Texoma region.  TMC recently received a Level II NICU Designation by the Texas Department of State Health.
    TMC Breast Care Center is the region’s only Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology in mammography, stereotactic breast
biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. They also rated in the top 1% for patient experience by Press Ganey.
   Texoma Medical Center offers an accredited graduate medical education program with the American Osteopathic Association. This program covers total healthcare for the area population and their families.   They have 24 residents receiving training.
    TMC has several nursing program partnerships and works closely with Grayson College. Although many nurses graduate with an Associates Degree, Mrs. Schenk added that patients receive better care by nurses with Bachelor Degrees.  
    TMC now has a pet therapy program.  They have a dog who travels throughout the hospital with its trainer visiting patients.
    TMC continues to grow its Heart Services Program.  They are developing a Structural Heart Program and will be performing lung and heart procedures robotically.
    TMC is a Level II Trauma Center but will be a Level III within the next 12 months.  They are working on improving their NICU from a Level II to a Level III in the near future.
    They are working with corporate to build a new Medical Office Building with an Ambulatory Surgery Center.  They are also working on expanding their cafeteria and ancillary service.
    They will take over ownership of Select ER on October 1.  This will allow them to accept Medicare and Medicaid. This will be the first Freestanding Emergency Department in the region to be hospital based. They are also working on plans to open a Freestanding Emergency Department in Anna, TX, in 2020.
Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt - Jail Tour
      Last week we all toured Grayson County's largest hotel.  Interestingly enough, although they don't take reservations, they are at full capacity most of the time.  
      They have an auxiliary location out at the North Texas Regional Airport to help with their overflow population.  When beds are no longer available in Grayson County, they have special arrangements set up with other counties in the state to house those needing a a place to stay.  
      Grayson County is one of the safest places to stay.  New state-of-the-art cameras were installed earlier this year to make it an even safer place for everyone.
Three meals a day are included with your stay.  Their kitchen receives Grayson County Health Department's highest rating.  They will also accommodate those requiring special dietary needs.  
      They also offer something that very few, if any other, all-inclusive places provide.  They have free, in-house medical care.  If the occasion arises for increased medical attention, they provide transportation to one of the local hospitals.  There have been times when a woman has given birth during her stay and they picked up the tab. For those who may require extra security around the clock while in the hospital, it is also provided free of charge.  During your stay, you will also be given a special, custom wardrobe consisting of an orange jumpsuit and matching orange crocs.  
      Yes, as you've already guessed, this all-inclusive facility isn't really a hotel, but the Grayson County Jail with a capacity of almost 500 inmates.  They continually have to deal with overcrowding as well.  
      Overcrowding adds to the daily issues of where to put the inmates.  Some inmates are at a higher risk. Some require special needs.  Men and women inmates must be separated at all times.  The female population continues to increase mostly due to illegal narcotics.  
In the entrance of the jail, Sheriff Tom Watt explained a large mural honoring all 25 of the county's law enforcement officers known to have died while in he line of duty since the 1800s.  The full-color painting fills an entire wall which includes images of a Grayson County Sheriff Office Honor Guard standing watch; a depiction of good versus evil illustrated by an angel standing over the devil; and two lions looking directly at the names of the fallen officers cast on individual plaques.  The mural was painted by local artist Sydney Sbarbaro.
      There are many, much needed improvements taking place inside the facility as well.  They have moved all of the computers where officers work and file reports to a room out of sight of the public eye.  They have remodeled their evidence room into a conference room and moved all the evidence to a more secure area.  
In regards to the previously mentioned upgrade of security cameras, they also increased the number of cameras from 125 to 167.  This helped cover some of the blind spots they had before.  Better yet, they can see everything in more detail.  The $500,000 cost was covered by the Grayson County Commissioners for $300,000 and the Grayson County Sheriff's Office commissary fund for $200,000.  
Michelle Lemming - Texoma Health Foundation
      Michelle Lemming is President and CEO of the Texoma Health Foundation (THF).  She talked about the Foundation and many good things they do in our community.  
      Michelle said that Nicole Thornhill is passionate about matching donors' charitable goals with needs in the Texoma area.  She helps individuals and organizations learn more about the nonprofit sector.  Anyone organization or person interested in creating a fund to set up your own legacy, you can do so for as little as $10,000.
      The Texoma Health Foundation was created on January 1, 2007, from the sale of the non-profit Texoma Medical Center.  The sale established what is known as a conversion or "new" foundation to preserve and protect the charitable assets that belonged to the nonprofit.  
      Kitty Richardon joined the THF's staff as their Chief Operating Officer in 2017.  Prior to THF, Kitty served as Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center's administrator for two years.  Kitty is also heading up their "Raising the Bar" series.
      Michelle reminded everyone that even though they are a non-profit organization, they continue to try to get better.  By doing so they bring in people to give presentations to help.  This is open to other organizations as well who want to become better.
      THF continues to survey the needs in our area to make sure they are doing what they need to do.  Michelle noted that mental health needs were far greater than what the Foundation was supporting.  As a result, they are doing something with addressing the needs for mental health in all four of the counties THF serves.  Those counties are Grayson, Fannin, Bryan & Marshall.  Michelle claimed that Sheriff Tom Watt has been very helpful with the THF.  
      Michelle said they noticed suicide rates in North Texas were higher than average.  Fannin County ranks #4 in the state of Texas.  Although you can offer programs to help with suicides you never really know if they work.  Although they have been concentrating on Fannin County Michelle the number one cause of death in Grayson County is suicide. They are now increasing their focus on mental health needs in Grayson County.      Sheriff Watt added that the THF works very closely with the Texoma Behavioral Health Leadership Team to improve the behavioral health and well-being for all people in the Texoma Community.
      Through a partnership with First United Bank, the Massey Family Foundation and the Texoma Health Foundation, the First United Community Room at Texoma Health Foundation (THF) opened in December 2018. This regional public community room will provide a meeting space for organizations and individuals working together to solve community issues and to create a better, healthier Texoma.
Rob Ballew - Sherman Police Regional Pipe Band
    Rob Ballew has served as a detective with the Sherman Police Department for about 13 years.  He has been in law enforcement for about 15 years.  During this time he has had the opportunity to meet and interact with many people throughout our community.  Rob admits to really enjoying his job and helping people.
    Rob didn't talk about his job or any cases he has worked over the years.  Instead, he spoke about the Sherman Police Department's Regional Pipe Band.  That's right!  The Sherman Police Department has a Pipe & Drum Band.  
    Rob started playing bagpipes about five or six years ago as a direct result of the death of Chad Key, Grayson County Deputy who was killed in the line of duty.  Rob noticed there weren't any bagpipes being played at Deputy Key's funeral.  He said it's not only traditional but also a great way to honor the family in memory of those who have served our community.
    It took Rob about six weeks to find someone in our area that taught bagpipes.  When he finally found someone in Sherman that taught bagpipes, he learned that this guy only lived a block from the police station.  So about five years ago, Rob put together a group of like-minded individuals to originally make up a combined band between the police and fire departments.  
    The fire department then decided they wanted their own band.  This presented a great opportunity for the police department to open up positions in the band to civilians.  
   They are now known as the Sherman Police Regional Pipe Band.  They currently have ten full playing members and about five or six students.  They currently practice on Thursday evenings. Anyone interested in learning how to play the bagpipes can call the Sherman Police Department or find them on Facebook.
    They will be hosting a free beginner's workshop on Saturday, August 24th.  They will bring in a premier Scottish drumming instructor from California.  They will also have a premier piping instructor coming as well to teach anyone how to play the bagpipes.  This is free of charge to anyone who wants to come.  
    Rob said their goal is to travel to Washington, D.C. in May 2020, to represent the city of Sherman at the National Law Enforcement Memorial.  They have a parade and a pipe band competition that they hope to compete in.  They are actively trying to raise funds to help with costs.
    The Sherman Celtic Festival was started three years ago and has become a huge success.  It is held every year in March the weekend after St. Patrick's Day.  There were seven pipe bands performing this past year.  The 4th Annual Sherman Celtic Festival and Highland Games will be held March 21-22, 2020.  For more information visit their website at
    Rob said it took him about six months of steady practice to be able to play something on the bagpipes that was recognizable.  He admitted to not practicing every day or having several other pipers to practice with.  Anyone wanting to learn would have others to practice with which would be very beneficial to learning. 
Peter Schulze - Grand Central Station
      Peter Schulze, professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Austin College, is also a community volunteer.  He  shared information about the big changes Grand Central Station (GCS) is going through.
      About 10 years ago when his oldest son Ben was looking for some service work to do, he came across Grand Central Station.  When his youngest son Matt became interested Peter started going with him.  He became interested as well and is now serving on their board of directors.
      There are five programs that operate under the Grand Central Station umbrella.  They are the Dining Car, Children's Express, The Green House, Service Academy for Youth (SAY), and Tools 4 Schools.
      Grand Central Station provides a hub of support for the underserved in our community.  The facility and its many volunteers provide hot meals, groceries, hygiene supplies, laundry facilities, showers, advacacy, and referrals to other local agencies.  Subsidized food from the North Texas Food Bank plus donated food, clothing, and hygiene products from local retail stores, restaurants, food producers, and others enable their kitchen and pantry to inexpensively serve meals and provide groceries, clothing and hygiene supplies free of charge.
      Since opening on October 11, 2010, they have served about 270,000 meals.  During 2018, Grand Central Station's dining room served 35,000 meals while the food and clothing pantry (The Green House) provided 140,000 pounds of food and 35,000 clothing and household items to some 9,000 individuals.  Meanwhile, volunteers packed and delivered nearly 18,000 meals for children to eat when school in not in session (Children's Express).
Tools 4 Schools donate school supplies to campuses all across Grayson county. Service Academy for Youth (SAY) helps teach young people the importance of service to others as a way of life. They just completed their 22nd year of service this past June.
      They now have their eyes set on a new, larger building that will enable GCS to serve more people.  Their current operations are spread out across town in three separate locations.  They don't even have enough space for their freezer!  It's located outside!
      The new building is located just across the street from their current location located at 619 E. Houston in Sherman.  It will increase their capacity to serve meals, increase their capacity to provide groceries, clothing and hygiene products, increase their capacity to provide food for school children when school isn't in session, increase their restroom, shower, laundry and counseling space for patrons and increase management and volunteer efficiency by bringing all of the operations under one roof.  The plan is to move into the new facility that will increase capacity, enabling employees and volunteers to better provide services to the community and people in need.
      The cost for purchasing and remodeling the 10,000 square foot facility is estimated at $1.2 million.  Donated materials and volunteer labor will help reduce the cost.  
      They will have a fundraising event on Thursday, August 22nd.  "A Night of Grace & Gratitude" for the under served and overlooked will feature guest speaker Ron Hall.  Mr. Hall is a movie producer and author of the #1 New York Times best seller "Same Kind Of Different As Me".  This event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Ballroom in Denison from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
      You can get more information about their programs or the special event on their website:
Eric Bridges - TCOG
     Eric Bridges, Texoma Council of Governments Executive Director, explained what they are all about.  He pointed out that a big part of his responsibility at TCOG is to function as the organization's official ambassador.  Eric has been involved in regional community development his whole professional life since graduating from college.
     Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG) is a voluntary association of local governments in Cooke, Fannin, and Grayson Counties that works directly with citizens and local jurisdictions to improve and advance economic vitality and quality of life in Texoma. In collaboration with our public and private sector partners, TCOG delivers various programs and services designed to support the health, welfare, and future of our citizens, our communities, and the region as a whole.
     TCOG employees work hand-in-hand with elected officials and community leaders to develop sustainable and economically viable community and regional development solutions. Many projects are funded through a state or federal funding allocation to the region.
Better Leaders Building Better Lives is their vision to build quality of life in a more meaningful and more sustainable way for all Texomans. It is their game plan for bringing additional resources to our region; for growing T           TCOG and expanding their services and programs; for making life better for more people. This effort is essential, as growth and progress in Texoma will ultimately be measured by the quality of life they offer.
Building quality of life requires inspired leaders who can see a bigger vision; committed leaders who believe the vision will be achieved; and courageous leaders who endure challenges, overcome obstacles, and transform the vision into reality. TCOG is dedicated to building quality of life through inspired, committed, and courageous leadership.
     TCOG facilitates the distribution of federal and state Homeland Security Funds, Criminal Justice Grants, and rural Community Development Block Grants.  TCOG conducts household hazardous waste collections, recycling and composting demonstration projects using the region's municipal solid waste disposal fee allocation.  
     Their annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event is set for Saturday, April 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Grayson Cooke & Fannin Counties.  To find the location in each county and see a list of what they accept visit their website at
     TCOG also provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support to rural communities to help enhance planning, zoning and other development related decisions.  GIS is an essential emergency management tool, and many local emergency managers, 911 dispatchers, fire fighters, and law enforcement officers take advantage of this service.  TCOG also offers training, strategic planning and project management services.  
     In addition to the work they perform for our cities and counties, TCOG provides a vast array of direct social services, including Section 8 Rental Assistance, Benefits Counseling, Care Coordination for the elderly and disabled, Caregiver Support services, Senior Volunteer Programs, Employment and Education support, Utility Assistance, Home Weatherization, Comprehensive Information & Referral Assistance to seniors, individuals with disabilities and low-income families.  They are very emphatic and giving everyone the personal touch they deserve.
     Collectively, through the planning and development services offered to the cities and counties as well as the direct social services provided to citizens, TCOG has played a crucial role in the growth and development of the Texoma region since 1968.  An Economic Impact Analysis conducted back in 2012, estimated TCOG's overall impact in the region at $36 million.  
Dr. Jeremy McMillen - Grayson College
      Dr. Jeremy McMillen, Grayson College president, was very happy to announce that they exceeded their fundraising goal this year.  He thanked David Bayless who chaired this year's event and pointed out it was the best year they ever had.  
      Dr. McMillen reminded everyone that Grayson College recently transitioned to an eight week semester and they are now seeing the impact.  It really benefits the students.  A majority of the students are unable to access $500 in emergency funds.  
      In years past, when a student had an emergency mid-term, such as their car breaking down and they needed money to fix their car, they would have to drop their classes in order to have the money to fix their car.  It wasn't a good fit because now they were out the money they paid for tuition and had no college credit to show for it.  When the student dropped their classes Grayson then owed the government money.  Grayson would repay the government but the student didn't have the money to pay Grayson.  Nobody won.  The eight week semester has made a huge difference for the students and the college.
      With Grayson College's new "Restart Program", they will waive up to $500 for any student with an outstanding balance who commits to completing at least six hours with a "C" or better grade.  Students owing more than $500 can pay the additional amount down until they only owe $500 and then may utilize the program.
Relationships between faculty and students are also stronger with the eight week program.  Classes are smaller and by only taking a couple course at a time, students are more focused.  
      Students can now receive their Associates Degree with 71 credit hours as opposed to 92 hours as required in 2013.  This results in a huge savings for the students.  It also cuts the time down by about nine-and-a-half months.  Graduation rates have almost doubled over the past seven or eight years and they continue to increase.  
Grayson College is committed to every student's success.  They are determined to transform lives by connecting students to the college and career pathways.  They build our community by inspiring student commitment and momentum toward timely achievement of pathway milestones.  They inspire pathway completion that launches successful career entry, career enhancement, or university transfer.
      New construction on campus includes a Student Success Center and a new 100-bed dormitory.  They have brought basketball back to Grayson, too. They also have a cheer program and a pep band.  Grayson has added athletic training to their curriculum which is new.  They have partnered with A&M Commerce and added an agriculture career pathway.
      Dr. McMillen thanked Grayson Rotary for the contribution to their Scholarship Foundation.  Grayson Rotary will continue to grow this permanently-endowed fund.
Tori Abner - Sustainable Farming:  A 60 Year Success Story
       Tori Abner shared a very interesting program on "Sustainable Farming - A 60 Year Success Story."  With growing concerns about climate change and food safety, farmers continuously improve how they raise food and protect the environment.  
      Tori's presentation used pig farming as a case study to demonstrate how a commitment to doing things better has achieved one of the most significant evolutions in food safety, nutrition and environmental stewardship in the last 60 years.  She confirmed that farmers are among the country's original environmentalists by focusing on pig heath and placing high priorities on conservation, land management, soil health and water quality.  
       Tori pointed out that there are eight cuts of lean protein that has been qualified by the USDA.  Two cuts have been certified as being "Heart Healthy" by the American Heart Association.  This has all come about by using 76% less land, 25% less water and less energy. 
       Sustainable farming is comprised of a lot of different things with healthy pigs being one of the main areas of focus.  Today's healthy pig has been made possible by several things including enhanced genetics.  Nutrition is very important as well.  New technology is has improved the barns for raising pigs where security is increased as well to insure healthy pigs.
       In 1959, it took eight pigs to produce 1,000 lbs. of pork.  Today, it only takes five pigs to produce 1,000 lbs. of pork.  Pigs today are 75% less fat than those raised in the 1950s.
       Today's pig farmers have become specialized where they only focus on one part of the life cycle.  They begin with breeding and gestation where they make sure the healthiest pigs are born.  When they are ready to have their litter they are moved into the farrowing barns.  Baby piglets weigh between 2-3 pounds.  They are weaned from their mothers in about three weeks and will weigh approximately 15 lbs.  They are then moved into nursery barns until they reach about 50 lbs.  They are then ready for the growing stage and moved to a finishing barn where they can really pack on the pounds and get ready for market.  Market ready pigs will weigh about 270 lbs.  They whole process takes about 6 months.
       Contrary to popular belief pigs are not raised in the mud.  They are raised in climate controlled barns where the temperature stays at 75 degrees year around.  These barns also protect the pigs from the weather, disease and predators.  
       Tori emphasized how serious farmers are about making sure the pigs produce the highest quality pork.  Every worker must shower and wear clean coveralls before entering the barns.  When their day is over they must shower again before leaving.
       When one group of pigs are moved from one barn to another, the barns are power washed and disinfected.  Every precaution is taken to make sure the pigs are as healthy as possible.
       Pork today compares favorably for fat, calories and cholesterol with many other meats and poultry.  While providing a greater amount of vitamins and minerals, many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken.  Pork tenderloin is just as lean as skinless chicken breast and meets the government guidelines for "extra lean."  In total, six pork cuts meet the USDA guidelines for "lean," with less than 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat adn 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.  Any cuts from the loin, like pork chops or pork roast, are leaner than skinless chicken thigh, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture data.  Pork steaks and roasts from the leg (ham) are also lean choices.
      Tori is a Denison native and recent graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in Animal Science.  She will continue her studies at North Carolina State University in the fall where she will pursue a Master's degree in Swine well-being and welfare.
       Tori raised show pigs for eight years and has interned on a commercial farm.  She worked with the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa, a couple of years ago and this past summer with the Texas Pork Producers Association communicating with producers and consumers about pork production.
Cheryl Brandon  - WNJ Senior Passport Program
      Cheryl Brandon is program coordinator over the Wilson N Jones Senior Passport Program and Volunteer Services.  She has been promoting healthy lifestyles for WNJ since 2000.
      The Senior Passport program began in July 2000.  It is a comprehensive benefits program offered exclusively by WNJ, designed to serve the needs of seniors 55-plus.  The most popular part is their exercise program.  
      They have two levels of membership.  Their Tier 1 basic level includes free notary service, free health screenings and monthly blood pressure checks, social and educational activities, discounts around town, free newspaper and one guest meal daily if you are admitted into the hospital, and travel incentives which include refundable deposits and free Passport/Visa pictures.  Tier 1 cost $25 per year.
      Tier 2 includes everything in Tier 1 plus complete lab work at the WNJ Lab one time a year, daytime hours in the gym plus exercise classes daily Monday through Friday.  You also receive free consultations twice a year with a WNJ Dietician.  Additional travel incentives include priority seating on the motor coach.  Tier 2 cost $45 per year.
      Cheryl said they are hosting a free fall and balance screening event on Thursday, June 13th from 5 to 7 p.m. in the WNJ Outpatient Therapy Gym.  It will help you identify factors that may put you at risk and educate you on fall and injury prevention.  
      One in four adults over the age of 65 fall each year.  Older adults are treated in the ER for a fall every 11 seconds.  Half of those who fear falling limit or exclude social or physical activities.
      Volunteers are very important and helpful.  They help at the front desk in the professional office building where the doctors are located as well as the front desk at the main entrance of the hospital.  They run the gift shop and help in all of the waiting rooms.  They even sell popcorn in the front entrance of the hospital.  Cheryl invited anyone interested in volunteering to contact her.  You can volunteer as much or little you want and the hours are very flexible.  
      Cheryl said they also give eight $1,500 scholarships.  They are awarded to local graduating seniors interested in going into the medical field.  
      Cheryl also mentioned the Texercise program.  It provides resources to help promote regular physical activity and good nutrition.  The Texercise handbook is a handy guide that offers nutrition and fitness tips, as well as exercises to encourage people to adopt healthy habits.  There is also a Texercise Fit for the Health of It! exercise DVD that helps you improve your strength, balance, endurance and flexibility in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace as a certified physical therapist leads you through a 30-minute sequence of easy exercises.  To request a free copy of the Texercise handbook or DVD, visit or call 1-800-889-8595.
Amanda Bernal - Prejudices, Parents & Interracial Relationships
      Amanda Bernal is beginning a new chapter in life.  She graduated from Austin College this year where she was president of the Rotaract Club.  She was also responsible for leading the very successful St. Baldrick's event.  Amanda plans on completing her Masters and then go on to receive her PhD.
      Only the top students at Austin College are invited to participate in their Honors Thesis program.   A student who has excellent research potential and has been performing at an exceptional level in the major and at a level of distinction in other courses may be invited by the department or program chair to participate in the Departmental Honors Program.  The Departmental Honors Program is designed to challenge superior students in their final year of undergraduate study to use their disciplinary training to delve deeper into a topic of interest in the major. The program emphasizes independent investigation and culminates in completion of a bachelor’s thesis or special research project.  
      Amanda successfully completed her Honors Thesis.  Her thesis was on "Prejudices, Parents and Interracial Relationships".
      By today's standards, displaying prejudices has become unacceptable.  Therefore, prejudices have become more subtle in nature.  Individuals must control their prejudices to either their internal or external motivations.  Amanda's study observed external motivations which is actively trying to hide one's prejudices to keep from being seen as prejudiced by others.
      Amanda's studies were based primarily on race, however, she did take religion and social class into consideration.  A previous study found individuals displayed more disapproval for those involved in an interreligious as opposed to those in an interracial relationship.  In regards to social class, a previous study showed white female participants perceived family approval to be heavily dependent on their partner's social class.  These findings resulted in Amanda's primary question of "How do different predictors, such as religion and social class, impact the level of support parents give to their child's romantic relationships?"
      Amanda's survey consisted of 329 parents.  They were equally divided between male and female with an average age of 31.  The majority were Asian and Caucasian with about 10% Hispanic, African-American, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.
      Survey results showed race having the largest influence, over religion or social class.  Interracial relationships received the lowest level of support from the parents.  Amanda pointed out that there wasn't a big difference.  When the potential spouse was of another race the level of support was rated at 4.8, where same race relationships received a 5.04 level of support.  
Donna Dow - Downtown Denison
      Donna Dow, Main Street Director, spoke on the different things happening in downtown Denison.  She pointed out they are having a 30 year anniversary celebration which took place on May 14th.  Denison was one of Texas' first Main Street programs, established in 1989.
      It was about this same time that the railroad was leaving Denison and the new highway was taking traffic away from downtown Denison.  Times were tough for downtown Denison but the have done nothing but get better ever since.
      This past Saturday, the 9th annual Bark & Paws and D.A.W.G. 5K was held.  The morning began with the DAWG 5K which benefits the Denison Animal Welfare Group.  They had several contests which included wiener dog races, small dog races, tail wagging contest for dogs with long and short tails, ugliest dog, a Master/Dog look-alike, dress-alike and best dressed "Luau" theme.  They also had a retrieving contest, an obstacle course, most obedient, most talented, biggest dog, smallest dog, oldest dog farthest travel and of course a Best of Show contest.  Entertainment was provided by Shawna Rains Entertainment Group.
      The Denison Arts Council held their second Admire, Walk & Wine event on May 11th in the historic district of downtown Denison.  Local artists and musicians shared their art with attendees in many of the popular downtown retail stores while they stroll from store to store sipping wine and enjoying the great variety of art on display.
      So you might have missed a couple events, but there is plenty more ahead throughout the summer as they host "Music on Main".  This is a free live music series held on Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. from May 24 through July 26 with a special Thursday, July 4th concert.  For a list of bands and updated information you can check them out online at or  Donna added that you can also listen to free live music in Sherman on Thursday nights.
      Streets in downtown Denison will have a new look before long.  If you have lived in the area a while you may recall the streets in downtown Denison going from straight to serpentine back to straight. They renovations will consist of a straight street without curbs.  It will be more appealing as the sidewalks will be widened, the landscaping and lighting will be updated, and benches added.  They plan to encourage more outdoor dining as a result.
      Most of the buildings downtown are either occupied or under construction.  All businesses will be open during construction.
Lisa Tomlinson - Grayson County Chief Probation Officer
    Lisa Tomlinson is the chief juvenile probation officer for Grayson County.  She will be head of the Grayson County Juvenile Services, a position in which Bill Bristow held before retiring in 2015.
    Lisa graduated with a bachelors of arts from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1988.   She worked for Grayson County Juvenile Probation from 1988 to 1993 when she was promoted to deputy director of the Juvenile Detention facility. She stayed with Grayson County until 2000 when she took the position as chief juvenile probation officer for Johnson County. In 2004, she became the chief juvenile probation officer for Somerveil County.
    Lisa said they are trying to work with kids in a trauma based way by implementing a program called TBRI.  TBRI stands for Trust Based Relational Intervention.  It's all about creating a safe environment for kids who are dealing with different types of trauma in their lives.
    When law enforcement creates a report a referral is generated.  Lisa added that the referrals are on a downward trend for some unexplained reason.  She also noted that many of the kids they are seeing today have mental issues they have to deal with, too.  Many of these kids are taking all kinds of medications.  These kids require a lot more work than just a criminal kid.  
    In 2014, they had 333 referrals in the juvenile placement department.  In 2018, they had 259.  Violent felonies are also down, which is good news.  
    One of the highest level of felonies now are property crimes.  Assaults are a very close second.  Kids are much more violent now than they were in the past.
    Sex crimes and assaults are ongoing.  There is a huge increase in family violence assaults.  
    Some of the probation programs they offer today include drug treatment and education.  They also utilize equine therapy which does amazing things.  They offer traditional and in-home counseling services.
    In working with kids on probation they are trying to place them outside the home.  They look at a lot of different things in determining what the best fit is for the kids.  They don't want to send the kids away just to send them away, but to a place that will contribute to their success.
    The detention center is a tri-county facility for Grayson, Cooke and Fanning Counties.  Although the length of stays are increasing, so are the graduation numbers.  
    It was pointed out that although the detention center is ran by the county, it is a self funding program with no financial assistance from Grayson County.  Other counties around the state pay to have kids stay in the detention center.  
Karen Tooley - Downtown Sherman Now
    Karen Tooley, executive director of Downtown Sherman Now, talked a little about the different groups working in downtown Sherman.  They are Downtown Sherman Now,  Sherman Main Street and the new Cultural District.
    Bob & Honey Minshew started Downtown Sherman Now in 1992, as a non-profit to get donations to help restore the Municipal Building.  Most recently, Downtown Sherman Now is responsible for greening up downtown Sherman by planting all the trees around the area.  Their goal is to promote and revitalize downtown Sherman.
    There are several upcoming events which include the monthly "Coffee with the Mayor."  They are also having a "Craft the Night Away" event where thirty different breweries will have craft beer available.  In October, they will have a wine tasting event with some great food.
    The city's organization, Main Street, applied for and received Main Street status from the state of Texas.  During the month of February, the have a Mardi Gras Bead Crawl event where you can turn in your downtown merchant receipts and be entered into a fabulous drawing.  
    They sponsor Christmas in July where many local businesses and non-profits will host many children's games and activities.  There will be a bicycle parade, live entertainment, a Hawaiian shirt contest.  Santa will even be there while on vacation.  
    In October, they will host Trick-or-Treat on Travis Street.  New this year will be a St. Patrick's Day parade on March 16th.
    The Sherman Cultural District represents both a geographic area, encompassing cultural sites, restaurants, museums and theaters, and a partnership, comprising the many arts and cultural groups that call Sherman home. Their partners are dedicated to advocating for and promoting the arts and humanities that represent our community. The Cultural District Advisory Council is hosted by Austin College in cooperation with the City of Sherman.
    The mission of the Sherman Cultural District is to advocate for the arts and artists, improve the built environment, promote arts-based tourism and economic growth, and create opportunity for inclusive cultural and civic engagement with art in all forms.  They will display art all over the downtown area representing thirty-six local artists.
    The recently had their "Art Dash."  Those who bought tickets were allowed to "dash" to the art wall and choose an original piece of artwork created on a 5x5 canvas.
    These three organizations have revitalized downtown Sherman making it a great place to visit on a regular basis.  
Barry Williams - Livingstone International University
    Barry Williams is the Senior Director of Development with Livingstone International University in Mbale, Uganda.  LIU has a mission to Transform Africa through a quality Christ Centered Education.  
    Barry is a member of the Suphur Oklahoma Rotary Club.  He added that LIU has a very active Rotaract Club.  Rotaract is a Rotary sponsored college organization.
    Barry explained how life in Uganda is so different than how we know it here in the U.S.  The citizens of Uganda live with social corruption on a daily basis.  They can't drive down a street without a police officer stopping you and just wanting some money from you.  Barry added, "You don't get an opportunity because of things like moral depravity."  If you aren't the chosen one or in the select tribe, you don't get an opportunity to go to college.  Then, it's the lack of a quality education.  Many of the universities across that part of the world graduate students with what is equivalent to a sixth or seventh grade education in the United States.  
    Forty-eight percent of the Ugandan population is under the age of 15.  Sixty-nine percent are under the age of 24 in a country the size of Oklahoma, where there are 38 million people.  If you took all of the people from New Mexico, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas, and put them in the state of Oklahoma, you would have the population of Uganda.  The gross national income in Uganda is $600 per year.
    Annually, sixty to seventy thousand students qualify the university according to their test scores, however, only about 25,000 actually attend classes.  Most of those students attend state schools ran by the government and when they graduate, don't have a decent education as mentioned above.
    Nelson Mandella said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."  Education is the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet, to preventing needless deaths and illness, and to fostering peace.
    LIU offers courses that are valuable to African society, as well as spiritual guidance and instruction in Biblical principles. LIU is working to produce students that are ethical, to make the right decisions, employable, to provide for their families, and empowered to make a difference in Africa.
    Livingstone aims to provide a modern education in an African context – relevant to Africans and drawing from the best gifts and perspectives of its countries.  They aim to develop students who are motivated and prepared to produce in the real world for the good of their families and of society.
    Livingstone opened in 2012, with 29 students.  Their first graduating class in 2015, saw 27 students earn their degree.  This year they have 304 students on campus.  This past October, seventy-three students earned their bachelor's degree.  
    From the time they opened in 2012, eighty-six percent of their graduates are employed.  
    LIU is a 501(c)(3) organization.  If you would like more information or make a contribution, visit their website
Larry Phillips - 59th District Court
    Larry Phillips was sworn in as the 59th District Court Judge in May 2018.  He served as Texas State Representative from District 62 from 2013 - 2018.
    Judge Phillips admitted to enjoying his time as a state representative.  He enjoyed representing the people of his district as well as being a part of the process.  He really liked being involved.  Larry is very delighted to be working in Sherman year around since he now has a granddaughter.  During his time as a state representative, he would spend six months of each year in Austin.
     During his time in Austin, he chaired and worked on several committees including transportation, insurance, public safety, and homeland security. They dealt with border issues, gun issues, education along with many state wide and local issues.  They were big issues that affected 28 million people in Texas.
    Judge Phillips confirmed that each case he decides regarding a child or criminal or just as big and important as those he helped with in Austin.  It's about making the right decision.  It's about helping people.
    Another difference between being a state representative and a district judge is that he has more free time, especially on the weekends.  Larry said he enjoyed attending all the chamber banquets and difference events over the years, but is now glad he can spend more time at home.
    It's great not having to work all the time.  For the most part, his days end at 5:00 p.m.  There are times of course when he has to work after or may be required to sign a warrant after hours or on the weekend, but that's okay. 
    Judge Phillips noted that his emails have slowed down considerably and he likes that.  While they were in session he would get hundreds of emails a day and sometimes they were all about the same issue.  Nevertheless, he had to read them and decide what needed to be done.  
        Being able to help people is much the same between being a state representative and now a District Court Judge.  And that's what Judge Phillips enjoys most.
    On the darker side of things, Judge Phillips commented on the big drug problem we have and how it affects everyone.  Judge Rim Nall (retired) started a drug court several years ago.  Larry proudly noted they just recently graduated eleven people from drug court. These graduates were mostly from drug addiction.     
    Judge Phillips said they don't go easy on drug offenders.  He sends them to jail every day.  Many times he does offer them the choice of going through drug court or prison.  Unfortunately, many will choose jail so they can go back to using drugs again when they get out.  When it comes to drug dealers, Judge Phillips gives them a lot of time in prison because they are the ones making it easy for drug users.  
    The biggest issue we have to deal with is drugs.  Meth is the most common due to it being a lot cheaper to buy now.  He said heroin is more popular around the rest of the country.  Although heroin may not be as bad as meth due to how it affects the body, heroin will still kill you more often.  
    We are starting to see more heroin around here but meth is the most popular because we are so close to Mexico.  The Mexican Cartel has learned how to make meth a lot more efficiently which in turn makes it a lot cheaper to buy.  In 2003, Larry said they passed a law removing Sudafed from the shelves of stores, requiring identification before anyone can buy it.  By doing this, it has practically stopped all meth labs which were very dangerous anyway.
Chris Bridge & Mia - HOPE AACR
    Chris Bridge and Mia are a crisis response team certified through HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response (AACR).  HOPE AACR is a national, all volunteer, non-profit, crisis response organization.  They have experienced handlers and canines who are trained for crisis response.  Their mission is to provide comfort and encouragement through animal-assisted support to individuals affected by crisis and disaster.
    HOPE has been in emergency response since 2001.  In addition to historical responses to 9-11, Katrina and Viriginia Tech, HOPE has more recently supported agencies in Texas, Florida and Georgia involving hurricanes, California with mudslides and mass casualty shootings in Charleston, Orlando and Kentucky.  They have helped in numerous other local, regional and national incidents.
    HOPE supports all personnel affected by crisis including first responders, emergency operation centers, and survivors.  The also support the families, friends and co-workers of the victims.
    AACR is an advanced level of animal assisted interventions where team provide comfort, stress relief, emotional support, and crisis intervention services for individuals affected by crisis and disasters in complex, unpredictable environments following traumatic events.  They may also work directly under the guidance of mental health professionals.
    Volunteers may train with or without a canine.  Team leaders work without a dog to supervise and support canine teams.  They manage, supervise and coordinate the response of up to four canine teams.  They observe teams for stress signs and make sure the need for breaks, water and food are met.  HOPE canine handlers always serve as their canine partner's advocate.  Their responsibility is to follow Team Welfare Guidelines to ensure their dog's safety comfort and well-being at all times.  They need to pay careful attention to their dog's willingness and ability to work in what can be extremely stressful and fatiguing environments.  Dogs are the focus of HOPE's mission to provide comfort and encouragement to those affected by crisis and disaster
    HOPE certified teams are required to go through specific training protocols.  They include crisis intervention skills, psychological first aid, canine behavior and stress management, critical incident stress management, the Incident Command System, human first aid and CPR, pet first aid and CPR, and canine desensitization to common sights, sounds and smells they may encounter on a assignment.
    HOPE has worked with FEMA, VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other faith based organizations.
Ogie Shaw - What To Do About American & Childhood Obesity
    Ogie Shaw kicked off 2019 with a topic many people use as a resolution.  Exercise.  After all the great food we enjoy from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, most of us vow to lose a few pounds.  
   As we all think diet is the key, Mr. Shaw told us to stop dieting.  Exercise is the key to losing weight and most importantly better health.  He emphasized that, "Exercise is being called the best medicine in America today, outperforming almost every prescribed medication in this country in terms of its overall impact on our health."  This includes everything from the common cold to cancer, yet it is the most under prescribed medicine today because most doctors are not trained at all in exercise.
    Back in the 1950s, middle and high school kids were tested by measuring their functional movement.  Believe it or not, 57.8% of our kids failed that test!.  Yes, they failed it!  These results told us that we have more unfit kids than anywhere else in the world.
   Function movement involves things we have to do on a daily basis in order to survive.  Are you able to get up out of a chair without using your arms?  If not, then you are at threat, especially if you are over 60 years of age.  You chance of falling is increased. 
    The University of Indiana measured 4 million 16-17 year old kids and found that kids today are worse off than they were 30 years ago.  They say we are now raising the first generation that will have a shorter life expectancy than either our parents or grandparents for the first time in our history.
    Practically everyone admits to not getting enough exercise.  Reasons being either they don't have time or laziness.  Lack of motivation is the primary reason for not exercising.
    People say they will exercise if you can make it fun.  Ogie said that if what you call exercising as fun, you aren't doing it right.  There are physiological requirements that exercise must meet in order to benefit you whether you like it or not.
    Just because you lift weights or run or whatever, you are probably not "fit".  People don't know what fitness it, because there is not such thing as generic fitness.  Fitness is activity specific.
    Mr. Shaw pointed out that your body teaches you how to treat it. Cardiac fitness is the key.  The average resting heart rate is 72 beats per minute.  The more cardiac fit you are the more blood you heart pumps in a single beat lowering the number of times your heart has to beep. Ogie said he wants your resting heart rate to be no more than 64 beats per minute.  The lower your resting heart rate, the longer your life expectancy will be. 
    Test yourself.  Step up and down in a chair or step for three minutes and take your pulse.  Your pulse should not be more than 144 beats per minute for men or 156 beats for women.  He said that 75% will fail that test in a typical group.
    The leading cause of not showing up for work is because their back hurts.  Eighty-five percent of back pain is due to tight back muscles, not weak back muscles.  The back muscles and stomach muscles are designed to work together, but when people sit all day their stomach muscles become weak, therefore, making their back muscles tighten up.
    Mr. Shaw said you should not be concerned about your weight, but about your level of subcutaneous fat.  If you don't have a tool to measure your fat, here is a guide to go by.  For men, your waistline should not be more than 6 inches larger than your chest.  For women, your chest and hips should be no more than 6 times the size of your wrist and your waistline no more than 4.5 times the size of your wrist.
    So, in order to get fit, you need to work out every day, twenty minutes or less.  The best way is to work out with resistance.  This way as you get more fit, you only have to increase the resistance and not increase the time.
    Doctors say that 80% of the patients in their waiting room could avoid being their had they been more successful exercising.  Being fit will greatly improve your financial picture.
    Ogie said that if you will use his program exercising 5 to 10 minutes a day that you will lower your blood pressure 12 points in 30 days.  He said just start with 5 minutes a day and you will see incredible results.  Not only will you have less neck & shoulder pain, knee pain, hip pain, and lower back pain, you will also have more energy.
    For more information, you can visit his website at, email or by phone at 503-646-5860.
Kris Spiegel & Sunny Mackey - Denison's Future
      Kris Spiegel, Denison, City Councilman, and Sunny Mackey, Denison Director of Community Engagement, brought us up to date on what the city of Denison has and will be doing to make it an even better community.  Denison is planning and growing for the future at a rapid pace.
      Kris pointed out that everything Denison & Sherman are doing is good.  They are providing the amenities that everyone has always wanted and by doing so, it is going to bring in new families, new monies and new tax dollars.  It may seem like a competition between Sherman & Denison to see who can make their city better, but when it's all said and done, everyone benefits and that's what matters.
    Having worked for the city of Denison almost 23 years, Sunny is very excited to see what is happening.  There are five focus areas they are working on.  They include housing/utilities, infrastructure, retail & entertainment, streets & transportation, and character & experience.  Sunny said they want people to shop here, work here and to live here.
    In 2000, Denison issued 13 housing permits.  By December 2018, they have issued 153 permits with several more in the review process.  Their renovation incentive program has been very successful.  They have issued 51 remodeling permits compared to 31 last year.  In addition to single family housing, there have been several apartment complexes built with more to come.
    Families wanted a nice park and now they have it with the development of Gateway Village at the intersection of Hwy. 75 and FM 691.  The Texoma Health Foundation Park has five baseball/softball fields, five soccer/multi-use fields, a playground and walking trails. It is a great place where families can enjoy making memories.  In addition to that, HeyDay is building a huge entertainment complex that will have a bowling alley, laser tag, lots of arcade space, a ropes course, miniature golf and a full service grill.
    The new Denison City Hall opened in August.  It is located on Main Street in the heart of Downtown.  All of the departments are now under one roof with the exception of police, fire and the library.  
    They have completed 5.1 lane miles with their street overlay program and that will carry over into 2019.  They are also replacing water lines along with the street overlays.
    Automated trash service will begin in April.  It will include new trucks, bins and an entire system overhaul, focusing on recycling, safety and service.  
    Sunny said they are about 30% completed with their Designing Downtown Denison project.  It is a 20 year project that will encompass a new look for downtown. 
    There are several events that take place in downtown Denison every year.  They include Denison On Ice, parades, festivals, Music on Main and Bark 'n Paws.  Downtown Denison is also home to fifteen different dining choices with three more coming in the Spring.  
Grayson Rotary Recognized
    It is an honor to report that Santa came a little early this year.  Rotary District 5810 Past District Governor Rick Amsberry (2008-09) and District Governor Nominee John Moser (2020-21) came bearing gifts.
    PDG Amsberry presented Grayson Rotary Club Immediate Past President Jim Walker with a well deserved Presidential Citation.  Of the 65 clubs in District 5810, Grayson Rotary was one of the seventeen clubs to earn this award.  Grayson Rotary has qualified every year for the Presidential Citation.  
    Here's the icing on the cake.  Grayson Rotary was one of only two clubs in the District to receive awards for every club member contributing at least $100 to the Rotary Foundation AND giving to PolioPlus!  This is something everyone can be very proud of accomplishing.  The best part though, we did all of this  because it is something we wanted to do.  Nobody was aware of the PolioPlus giving award.  That's what makes it even more special.  Grayson Rotary is a special club and duly recognized as such by the District and Rotary International.  Grayson Rotary wouldn't be so special if it weren't for the amazing members that make up our Rotary family.  
    Cindy Craig asked everyone to continue selling nuts and candy.  She provided candy and nut samples for everyone to taste along with order forms.  Order forms are due December 14th.  The candy will be available by December 19th.  She also added that we will continue selling candy and nuts after the first of the year.  
    Edwin Clark reported that the Grayson Rotary Scholarship Committee has decided to change our scholarship format.  First, the remaining six scholarships were paid to the schools.  This left approximately $13,000 to be given to the Grayson College Foundation into an endowed fund where we would set the criteria for disbursement.  Once we reach the $25,000 level we would then begin a scholarship endowment at Austin College.  
    After some discussion it was decided to request names of kids or grandkids of Grayson Rotarians that will be graduating high school in he next two years.  A decision will then be rendered.  
    Club President Stacy Braddock asked for suggestions of organizations that would be worthy recipients of a grant from Grayson Rotary to be awarded at or Awards Banquet next February.  In addition to scholarships, we also give money to other needy organizations in our community from the funds we raise during the year from Flag Leases and Nut Sales.
Tawni Hodge - House of Eli
    Tawni Hodge has been a volunteer for many years, but it was about eight years ago when it really became serious.  After years of serving at a juvenile detention center, Tawni discovered a great unmet need.  It was when she noticed "a bunch of hurt little boys" who were coming out of the juvenile system who were angry, lost and in trouble with society.  She knew they needed a safe place that could help them build a new foundation for a brighter future.
    They didn't have any reason to know what they should be doing because they were never taught by their parents.  In order to keep these young men out of prison men and help them become responsible citizens they have to be shown something totally different from what they have known.  This is where the House of Eli makes a difference.
    The House of Eli is a non-profit organization which strives to offer young men who have been through the juvenile justice system, tools and opportunities to build lives that don't involve adult prison.  Though forced into adult roles prematurely, they are emotionally immature, lack education, are angry and scared.  When these young men come to live at the House of Eli, they become part of a healthy family environment.  They see that the past has shaped who they are but it does not control who they will become.
    The boys come to the House of Eli by choice.  They are not court appointed  or referred.  They know what they are signing up for and must respect the program.  
    Everything done at the House of Eli is designed around the idea that a safe, secure home is God's design for where healthy kids are grown.  They try to operate as much like a real family as possible.  
    They start from the basics in every area.  Tawni said they learn, play, cook, clean, work together.  They strive to help these young men redefine "normal" across the board.
    Experience is a great teacher, and the young men gain practical knowledge by working for Eli Bros.  Every day the young men are assigned to work crews that work on "see houses."  They earn for themselves and the House of Eli while learning construction and business skills.  
    The House of Eli can take in a maximum of nine boys.  There is no set time frame they have to stay, but they must follow the rules.
Dr. Alex Roby - Red River ER
    Dr. Alex Roby is the medical director for Red River ER in Sherman.  He is also the owner and an attending physician, actively working shifts there.  Dr. Roby pointed out that doctors go into this profession because they have a true passion to help people, like law enforcement and teachers.
    Red River ER has been open for about seven months.  They have been very active with philanthropic endeavors in Grayson County as a primary means of engaging with the public.  
    So why are there so many of these free standing emergency rooms popping up all at once?  Well, the state of Texas classifies Grayson County as a medically underserved area.  On any given day, about 300 people visit an emergency room in Grayson County.  This leads to an incredible burden on the emergency departments, creating long wait times and frustration all the way around.  
    Do any of these statements sound familiar?  "The doctor saw me on a bed in the hallway."  "I had to wait four hours before I was seen."  "I never even saw the doctor."  "I saw the doctor for five minutes and three hours later someone handed me a stack of discharge papers."  "No one even told me why I was being admitted."
    If you are not in acute distress when you go to the ER, you might have to wait for an exorbitant amount of time.  Then once you are taken to a room you still may have to wait what seems like an eternity there.
    One thing you are probably not aware of is what is going on around you.  There could be several patients who have just arrive by ambulance from an auto accident, or a heart attack patient has just been rushed back, or perhaps an elderly person is being treated for a stroke.
    Dr. Roby pointed out that it's common for a critical patient to occupy 90% of the staff while you are completely unaware as to why you are having to wait.  When these cases have been resolved or stabilized the staff is then scrambling to chart key information or catch up with the continued influx of patients.  As a result, patients frequently feel that their time with the doctor is very brief, rushed or that the doctor is cold and callous.
    The free standing emergency department was established to provide a more pleasant ER experience.  Plus, the reason you see these free standing ER's popping up all over the place is because patients love them!  Patient volumes, and in general, the level of acuity is lower, allowing the staff to spend more time at the beside to include the patient in the plan of care, educating them and setting expectations.  Better yet, there's hardly ever a wait!  The staff is pleasant and attentive and the cost is often a fraction of that of a traditional ER.
    Everyone who walks through their doors is entitled to a free medical screening exam to determine if they are experiencing an emergent condition. 
They accept all major insurances and offer a cash pay option.  It includes a facility fee and itemized pricing for any test or treatment they would perform so that everything is transparent.  This has proven to be very attractive to employers whose employees may be uninsured or those hoping to avoid an increase in their workman’s comp insurance premiums.
   Most of the patients they see are the walking wounded; “is this broke?” or “is this infected?”, but they are fully functioning emergency room.  They carry all of the medicines you would need if you were having a heart attack, kidney stone, or strep throat.
   The average visit at Red River ER takes less than an hour, but they are able to treat patients for up to 24 hours.  They have their own in-house pharmacy, lab, Cat Scan, X-ray and Ultrasound available 24 hours a day.  They can also have a patient admitted to the hospital of their choice faster than if they went directly to that ER facility.  If you have a condition requiring surgery or hospitalization, they have direct transfer agreements with WNJ, TMC and Heritage Park.
    Check out their reviews on Facebook or Google.
Andrew Snyder - Director of Viticulture & Enology at Grayson College
    Andrew Snyder has been the Director of the Viticulture and Enology program at Grayson College for five years.  He also has a winery in El Reno, Oklahoma.  
     Along with Texas Tech and Texas A&M, Grayson College is one of the three programs in Texas, teaching Viticulture, the art of growing grapes, and Enology, the science of making wine.  Mr. Snyder recently attended a conference and learned that $5 billion were added to the state's economy due to the responsible sales of craft beverages.
    All of the Viticulture and Enology classes at Grayson are geared toward working adults.  The classes are eight hours each day on Saturday and Sunday over a two week period.  There are about 25 students per class.
    Andrew said they are a very hands on program.  You get more than just a certificate when you complete the course.  Since the college has a winery, students get to actually make wine.  Grayson has an "experimental license" which means that other than tasting the wine, they are not allowed to sell the wine they produce.  
    Grayson College is expected to have a new building by the end of November which will allow them to also offer a distillation science program.  Starting in the Spring of 2019, Mr. Snyder will also be teaching how to make bourbon, brandy, gin, rum, etc. 
    Although most courses are geared toward those interested in growing a vineyard and making wine, there are a couple courses that are more for someone who just wants to learn a little more about wine.  The "Wine Types and Sensory Evaluation" course is where you will study the major types of wines with an emphasis on the development of sensory evaluation techniques.  You will learn how to use all of your senses to evaluate wine.
    Andrew also runs the "Texoma Non-Commercial Wine Competition".  They will get about 100 wines in at the Texoma Craft Beverage Conference on the first Saturday in June.  The will award the T.V. Munson Cup to the overall winner in addition to the Gold, Silver and Bronze winning wines.  
    If you are interested in learning more about growing a vineyard, making wine, making cider or just how to appreciate wine, you will find a list of courses visit  Courses are offered through the Center for Workplace Learning Department a Grayson College.
Cary Wacker - The Focal Point! Project
    Cary Wacker, former Sherman Mayor, is heading up the Focal Point! project for downtown Sherman.  The Focalpoint(!) project will ask Sherman residents to contribute to a databank of curated images that will be used in temporary displays in downtown Sherman
    Cary is overseeing the application process through her position as associate vice president for institutional advancement and director of the Center for Community & Regional Development at Austin College.  She noted that downtown is an important place in any community.  
    With that being said, Cary pointed out that we need more engagement from the whole community in the arts.  A portion of the funding  will come from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Austin College was one of the recommended organizations for a $50,000 grant from the NEA’s Our Town program to support Focalpoint(!), a series of public photography workshops and public art programs that celebrate the different cultural traditions of Sherman residents.
    Cary shared some ideas and photos of what the community can expect once The Focal Point! project gets underway.  There will be several streets around downtown Sherman for public art, whether it's murals or photos, to be displayed along the walkways.  Although some of the streets don't appear to be too pedestrian friendly, there are plans to change that.  
    The Focal Point! project was launched during Arts Fest this past September.  They will continue with a series of public photography workshops to educate interested citizens on what they are looking for and how to capture the perfect photo.  You can use a camera or your phone to take pictures, however, their one rule is, no selfies.
    Using photography workshops to build social engagement around the arts, the Focalpoint(!) project will invite Sherman residents to contribute to a databank of curated images of places, people, and culture. These images will populate temporary displays in downtown Sherman that are artist-designed and community-built.
    Workshops are free and open to the public, and are appropriate for any age. Bring a camera or smart phone and learn how to capture images of life in Sherman. Participants may submit their images to the Focalpoint(!) photo-sharing site for consideration to be included in a permanent archive of photos representing the Sherman community. 
    Throughout the two-year project, Austin College will engage community partners including the City of Sherman, Sherman Independent School District and cultural groups in building a shared sense of place among residents.
    You can get more information by visiting or their Facebook page at
    Check out the Focalpoint(!) gallery at by creating a Flickr account. You can see the gallery and share your photos, too, when you join Flickr. It’s free and easy to use!
GCRC Being The Inspiration
    It's always nice to hear about the great things Grayson Rotary does for our community and communities around the world.  It's all about "Service Above Self", Rotary's motto and "Be The Inspiration", Rotary's theme for this year.
    Kate Whitefield reported on our most recent event that also included members of the Sherman High School Interact Club.  Grayson Rotary sponsored a bed in the Family Promise Bed Race fundraising event.  The Sherman High School Interactors took it to the next level.  They won all three categories which included winning the race, best theme and most importantly, most money raised.   Family Promise of Grayson County provides 24-hour shelter, meals, transportation and supportive services for up to 90 days for families with children. The program is a partnership with faith communities throughout Grayson County.
    Mike Nix, who is in charge of our upcoming project to put benches in the new dog park area at Fairview Park, announced there is a delay in the benches being shipped.  We were scheduled to install them on October 20th, but will have to put that off a week or two until we have benches to install.  He will keep us informed but hopes to get it rescheduled for either October 27th or November 3rd.  
    Paul Manley invited everyone to attend the Celebrity Bartending event on Monday, October 22nd at the Old Iron Post in downtown Sherman from 5:00 - 10:00 p.m.  His wife Lindsey and Karen Tooley are the celebrities raising money with all proceeds benefiting the Children's Advocacy Center of Grayson County.
    Stacy Braddock informed everyone to be on the lookout for Nut & Fruit Order Forms.  She said they have been waiting to get a price list from the vendor but it is due any day.
    Steve Avard distributed information and an application form to encourage a Grayson Rotarian into getting involved with the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) first hand.  A grant is available to the cost of the tour itself.  All the food, lodging, transportation and activities are paid for.  The only thing the Rotarian would have to pay for is the airfare.  
    The GLP is designed to provide education to middle school children in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.  The Textbook Program provides vital boks in the core areas of math, science, social studies and Spanish.  It also trains teachers to use the books effectively in the classroom.
    The Rotary-GLP trip is February 2-10, 2019.  You will learn about Guatemalan history and culture, as well as the challenges faced by people in the developing world, while sharing in the fellowship of other Rotarians from the U.S., Canada, Guatemala, and other countries.
    Please get in touch with Steve for more information.  You can also learn more by going online to and
Melissa Eason - Sherman Public Library
      How would you like to have free access to unlimited information and resources?  Would you be interested in free ebooks and audio books, too?  Why pay for something that you can have at no charge?  You qualify for free membership just by living in the great state of Texas.  You have access to this and much, much more with a free library card from the Sherman Public Library.
    Melissa Eason, Sherman Public Library Director talked about the newly remodeled library and programs they sponsors.  As you may recall, the library had been operating in a temporary space due to a fire in April 2017.
    Everything is new, improved and much more efficient.  Melissa invites everyone to come by and take a tour of the new and improved Sherman Public Library.
    Now the library has just one centrally located area to deal with everything instead of separate desks for customer service, references, book checking out and in, children's needs, circulation, genealogy, etc.  It's more along the lines of a one-stop-shopping platform.  Anyone can help you.  It's a much more user friendly set-up.
    They have new computers for public use and better yet you can now print from them with a higher degree of privacy.  You can even print something from home to the library's printer and it won't be released until you get their to push the button to have it printed.
    Melissa Salazar is the youth librarian.  She brings a wealth of talents to the library and speaks Spanish as well.  The puppets are also back and performing for children.  They have added a violin class for children ages 6-8, to the many programs they already offer.
    You don't have to worry about your phone dying while you are at the library because they now have charging stations.  If you need a place to study with some privacy they have five alcoves available and they have a place to charge your phone as well.
    In addition to the books, newspapers, magazines and computers they also have DVD's, large print books and tablets with children's books available.  They have several data bases available and some of them can be accessed from home.  
    The Sherman Public Library is the place to educate, excite, entertain and inspire. Research genealogy, plan a vacation, make a career change, learn to read or find yourself in the middle of a great adventure. 
    You can check out the many programs and resources the Sherman Public Library has to offer at  Better yet, stop by and take at tour.  They are back in their old location at 421 N. Travis in Sherman.  While you're there, get your library card.  Membership has it's privileges!
Carrie Bolin - Habitat For Humanity ReStore
    Carrie Bolin is a long time volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County.  She is also the manager of their ReStore.
    ReStores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat ReStores are independently owned reuse stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.
    Donations come from individuals, large stores, hotels, apartments, assisted living facilities, restaurants and more.  These keeps perfectly usable items out of the landfills.  Ninety percent of the proceeds from the sales go directly to enable Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County to build and repair more homes for partner families right here in our community.
    You may drop off your donated items on Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Their address is 3822 N. Frisco Rd. in Sherman.  They are inside the old National Health Studio building.  You can also schedule a free pickup of merchandise by calling 903-647-0133.
    Some of the items they accept are furniture, electric appliances, sinks, tubs, toilets, all kinds of tools, cabinets, light fixtures, ceiling fans, housewares, siding, roofing materials, windows, screens, flooring, hardware, doors and electrical.  Items must be working.  If you are unsure about an item just give them a call. 
    A few of the items they will not accept are mattresses, water heaters, paint, tires, console televisions or anything not working or broken.
    Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian organization that builds affordable homes in Grayson County.  Since organizing in 1991, they have built or renovated 35 homes.  There are more than 200 people currently living in Habitat homes in Grayson County.  
    Carrie explained how their home ownership program worked.  The homes are built with 0% interest with a $1,000 down payment.  They are 2, 3 or 4 bedroom homes with 2 baths and are energy efficient in design.  
    Families must be in need of housing.  They must be able to make house payments, willing to be a partner and complete their sweat equity hours during the building process.  They will also learn skills that help them maintain the home afterwards.
John Moser - The Rotary Foundation & District Grants
    John Moser, Rotary 5810 District Governor Nominee (2020-2021) explained how The Rotary Foundation (TRF)  worked in regards to its Annual Fund and PolioPlus.  He also spoke on how the District Grant's were distributed.
    All money given to Rotary International's (RI) Annual Fund will sit in an account for three years where it draws interest.  The interest is used to help fund RI's administration.  After three years, one half of the month is returned to the giving District.  The other half of the money is given to the World Fund.  The World Fund is where Rotary does all of it's good work.  It funds international grants, Peace Scholars and District Designated Funds.
    The money that comes back to the District is then up to the discretion of the District Governor (DG).  The DG may use up to half of the money for District grants and the other half for various things within the District which includes training teams, Peace Scholars and muti-media.
    The money the District has for grants must be used for grants or it is returned to RI.  For a District to receive their funds each year they must submit all paperwork for every grant awarded to each club.  If just one club doesn't turn in completed paperwork the District is at risk of losing their portion of the funds the following year.  
    Historically, there were a few clubs that received grant money but didn't turn in the final paperwork.  So now, every club who receives a District Grant must submit the final paperwork before they receive funding.  They will know how much they are getting before the project is started so they can plan, but they just won't get the money until it is completed and the final paperwork submitted to the District.
    Rotary Districts and Clubs are required to qualify annually for Grants.  On the club level, each club must have at least one member attend the District's Grant Qualifying Seminar the year prior to requesting and receiving a grant.  Club Officers are also required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to receive a grant.
    Only clubs who contribute to TRF will receive grant funds.  Clubs giving $120 per capita or more to the Annual Fund share in 75% of the available grant funds.  Clubs giving less than $120 per capita share in 25% of the available grant funds.
    Clubs must submit their requests at the beginning of the Rotary Year (July).  The amount of the grant requested will be announced in mid-August (depends on the number of clubs making a request for a District Grant).  Once advised of the Grant Award, the Club may proceed with their project.  When the Club's project is completed, a Final Report must be submitted.  Upon receipt of the Final Report, the District will send the Club a check for the amount of the Grant Award.
    Last year, District 5810 supported 52 District Grants from 38 Clubs totaling $85,784.  The Grant Projects included scholarships, Wounded Warrior Support, transportation of food, school and medical supplies to Honduras, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) Scholarships, dictionaries, white boards and multi-media projectors, school clothes for economically disadvantaged students, purchasing microscopes for an ENT clinic, support the Reginoal Food Bank, build a Veteran's Memorial in a local park, provide funds for sexual abuse and violence advocacy center, upgrade and develop a community emergency center facility and for park improvements.
    Since 2013, Rotary Club Central has reported 125,535 projects funded with District Grants using 70,611,062 volunteer hours involving 13,096,748 people.  Total cash contributions total $833,040,788 and in-kind contributions equaled $366,494,897.  However, less than half of all projects were reported to Rotary Club Central!  Rotary Club Central is the website in which Rotary Clubs may report their projects.  
Jim Gatewood - The Kennedy Assassination
    Jim Gatewood, Historian and founder of the Dallas County Assassination Review Board, informed everyone on some facts about the John F. Kennedy assassination that most people have never heard before.  We learned who ordered the hit on Kennedy and why.
    Charles Tessmer, attorney, produced a film at his own expense of $5 million titled “The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald.”  It had its premiere showing in Philadelphia but was quickly confiscated by the FBI.
    The review board got their break on July 19, 1979, when the mafia chief Sam Giancana was assassinated the night before he was to testify before a Senatorial Crime Investigating Committee.  The CIA was taking a 10% skim off all mafia drug money coming in to the United States.
    Sam’s brother Charles knew what was going on and also knew if he said anything he would get “waxed” as well.  In 1998, Charles was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  It was then that he “sang like a canary”, according to Mr. Gatewood.  All of his testimony is in their file and this is where much of their information comes from.  All of the information is factual, not theroetcial.
    In 1931, Al Capone was head of the mafia syndicate. He went to jail for income tax invasion.  It was during the mafia’s next meeting that Capone’s number one hit man who had personally killed 52 people declared himself head of the mafia.
    In 1934, Joe Civello, the Dallas Mafia Don, attended a meeting of all Mafia Cheiftains in Chicago chaired by Giancana.  As each Don was making a report on money making opportunities, Civello said, “Dallas is like a ripe hanging tomato, even though our country is in a great depression, she did $18 million in gambling and prostituting last year.”  
    Benny Binion has 27 casinos within two miles of downtown and people are calling Dallas “The Little Monte Carlo on the Trinity....”  Civello continued, “But now is not a good time to move on Dallas, because Benny Binion is boss, he is smart, tough and he has some ex-Texas Rangers on his payroll that are dangerous killers.”
    In 1946, Binion got a call from Meyer Lansky, head of the New York crime family in charge of syndicated gambling all across the United States.  Lansky told Binion there was going to be an inqusition into organized crime and gambling and the Fed’s were going to shut down all gambling in the major cities, so he better make some plans.  
    Lansky said there was a young senator from Tennessee who had presidential aspirations and wanted the support and financial help from the mafia.  In return, he agreed to leave gambling alone in Nevada where it was already legal.  Binion put $2 million in the trunk of his cadillac and went to Las Vegas.  
    The back door to the Dallas underworld swings open.   Giancana sent Paul Roland Jones and Jack Nappi to Dallas to bribe newly elected Sheriff Steve Guthrie.  He was guaranteed $50,000 up front, $5,000 a month and could be sheriff as long as he wanted.  All he had to do was look the other way when it came to gambling, prostitution and drugs in Dallas.  
    Guthrie, a World War II veteran and ex-Dallas policeman, turned the tables on the two Mafia cheiftans.  He bugged the meeting and they were put in jail. 
    Giancana waited and in 1947, he played his second card.  He sent Jack Ruby to Dallas with instructions to bypass the hardnosed sheriff’s department and use mafia money to buy honkytonks and taverns in Dallas and transform them into erotic strip joints and distribution points for prostitution, book making and drugs.
    Ruby’s first acqusiiton was the Silver Spur Club, then the Soverign Club, the Vegas Club on Oak Lawn and then Bob Welk’s Ranch House and the Carousel Club on Commerce Street across the street from the prestidious Adolphus Hotel.  
    Like rising flood water from the Trinity River, the mafia operations engulfed Dallas.  Their business was so good they built their own bank to launder their drug and gambling money, the Merchant’s State Bank on Ross Avenue.  All board of directors were mafia Dons.
    In 1959, Giancana was summoned to a meeting in Chicago by Mayor Daily. Joe Kennedy, father of Jack Kennedy and head of the Irish Mafia, one of the oldest organized crime groups in the United States was also present.  The purpose of the meeting was to gain the Italian Mafia’s support for Jack Kenedy in his 1960 election campaign against Richard Nixon.  
    Giancana said “No!”  They would not support a Kennedy beause Jack’s brother Bobby Kennedy is head of the McClelland Crime Busting Committee, and he is trying to put our people in jail.”
    Joe Kennedy, head of the Irish Mafia, makes Giancana who is head of the Italian Mafia and deal he can’t refuse.  Joe said, “You help my son Jack get elected president of the United States and he will tell the FBI to look the other way when it comes to the Teamsters, Las Vegas and narcotics.”
    The mob did support Jack in the 1960 Presidential campaign and Jack was elected, but only because of stuffed ballot boxes in Cook County and another one in Duval County in Texas.  With Kennedy’s presidential victory, the Kennedy’s trap to destroy the Italian Mafia and their power base snapped shut.  One of Jack’s first official acts was to appoint his brother Bobby as Attorney General.  Now Bobby had over 5,000 FBI agents under his command and he reopened and ratcheted up the inqusition into the Italian Mafia and their organized crime.
    Sam Giancana looked his brother Charles square in the eye. "We got Bobby on a wire; calling me a guinea grease ball can you believe that? Old man Kennedy already owes me his life and after the votes I --- muscled for the president?  They were good enough, and my millions were good enough to get Jack elected." Giancana's eyes then narrowed to slits, "Well, I'm goanna send 'em a message they'll never forget." He called John Roselli, his lieutenant and the Los Angles Mafia boss. 
    A meeting was set up in Miami at the posh Fontainebleau Hotel. The meeting lasted nine days. Hit squads were set up in five cities, Miami, New Orleans, Chicago, Los Angles and Dallas.
    Carlos Marcello, the Mafia’s “New Orleans Kingfish,” was angry with the new Attorney General because Bobby had ordered Marcello deported.  Marcello seething with anger proposed the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
    Sam Giancana, who chaired the meeting, told Marcello, “No! Because if they took out Bobby this would only make Jack angry and he would replace Bobby with some other zealot and Jack would have him turn up the heat even more.” 
    Giancana pointed out that, “If they took out Jack, Lyndon Johnson their close friend would become president and their troubles would soon go away.”
    A few months later Fidel Castro publicly announced on television that he knew the CIA has issued contracts to have him assassinated.  He added that he didn’t want the president to sleep well because he would get back.
    Giancana called Castro and said that whoever killed the president would be able to retire and live a life of luxury in Havana, Cuba.
    Jack Ruby told Oswald he could get him $1 million in cash to shoot Kennedy.  Oswald agreed but also wanted to be appointed a general in Castro’s army.  Ruby then told Oswald in order for you to prove yourself, your mission will be to take out the nation’s number one right wing anti-communiset General Edwin A. Walker.
    Giancana was the supreme architect of Kennedy’s assassination and agreed.  About a month after Oswald killed the president, Giancana would instruct Hoover to have the FBI point to Oswald in Havana, Cuba, as Castro’s general, the man who killed Kennedy.
    On Friday night, April 10, 1963, Oswald took a shot Edwin A. Walker.  Just as Oswald took a shot the General had leaned over to pick something off the floor. The bullet just missed but Oswald thought he was dead.
    On the morning of November 22, 1963, behind a screen of schoolbook cartons on the six floor of the School Book Depository, Lee Harvey Oswald had built a sniper’s nest.  
    Gatewood described how the assassination took place in detail.  There was also an Oswald look-a-like, Manual Riviera, who stood to the left of Oswald looking out the window. He assignment was to spot for Oswald.
    Oswald took his first shot which made a true trajectory and passed through Kennedy and Governor John Connelly.  Oswald’s seond shot which hit Kennedy high on the right side of his head caused a piece of skull to explode from the president’s head.
    Gatewood then described how Dallas County Deputy Sheriff Harry Weatherford who was on top of the County Records Building above Oswald was able to fire a shot in time to  make Oswald flinch enough to miss killing Jacquelyn Kennedy.  This story is in his book as well.
    There is more very interesting stories that add to the Kennedy assassination that were told by Mr. Gatewood.  He reminded everyone that his book is based strictly on facts and not on theory.    
Dr. Margaret Avard - Oceanfront Property In Sherman?

    Oceanfront property in Sherman?  Actually, there is some truth to that question and Dr. Margaret Avard proved it.  
    Each type of sedimentary rock tells us a story about the Earth's history and how the environment used to look years ago.  Dr. Avard explained how each type of rock has it's own environment of deposition.  In geology, depositional environment or sedimentary environment describes the combination of physical, chemical and biological processes associated with the deposition of a particular type of sediment.
    Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock.  Basically, a bunch of sand glued together.  Sandstone is found in a beach (or desert) environment.  Beach and desert sand particles look different.  
    Shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock that forms from the compaction of silt and clay-size mineral particles. We find shale in very slow moving water environments such as the deep ocean.
    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams and molluscs.  It is also found in slow moving water environments.
    Chalk is a soft, white, porous, sedimentary carbonate rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite.  Calcite is an ionic salt called calcium carbonate.  Chalk is found in the deep ocean environments as well.
    Dr. Avard shared a list of rocks found in Grayson County and pointed out they all started with the letter "K" which tells us how old the rocks are.  "K" rocks are from the Cretaceous period which dates them between 66 and 144 million years ago.  All of the rocks in Grayson County are about 100 million years old.
    The types of rocks found in Grayson County are sandstone, shale, limestone and chalk, all of which have the environmental disposition of an ocean.  Interestingly, as we were shown a map of the United States during the Cretaceous time period, there was an inland seaway from the Gulf of Mexico all the way north to the Artic Ocean.  
    Think about this.  When we find fossils around Lake Texoma or anywhere in Grayson County, they are seashells.  One will often find sharks' teeth in Grayson County.
    When oil wells are dug they must drill past layers of chalk, sandstone, limestone and shale.  So we were literally the ocean floor for about 300 million years.
    So there may not be any oceanfront property available now in Sherman or Grayson County, but many years ago proves to be a different story.  Of course, human migration to North America didn't begin until the glaciers melted.
    Dr. Avard is a professor of Earth and Environmental Science in the Department of Chemistry, Computer and Physical Science at Southeastern Oklahoma University. She has a B.S. in Geology from Centenary College in Louisiana, a M.S. in Structural Geology from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Oklahoma.

David Norman - Austin College Athletics
    David Norman, Austin College athletic director, talked about their program as well as Division III athletics.  Being an Austin College graduate he has a special devotion to his alma mater, however, he is more enamored with what Division III athletics stands for.
    Mr. Norman pointed out that we are always hearing about a coach or player getting caught for doing something they shouldn't at the Division I level and although it is great entertainment, what are they really accomplishing?  Division III in which Austin College is a part of, is the largest sports consortium in the world with over 450 institutions participating.
    David said it means Division III prioritizes athletics and keeps it in perspective by supporting the growth of their student athletes.  People has misnomers about Division III schools.  They believe they are just non-scholarship schools which is 100% false.  Mr. Norman pointed out that 98.7% of their student athletes have a scholarship.  They are all academic scholarships.
   AC has 400 student athletes this year which is more than they have ever had out of a total enrollment of about 1,200.  He said they get those student athletes not only because they are given a chance to play athletics, but because they are also able to attend a very well respected academic program.  Mr. Norman emphasized, "At the end of the day it's really about what you do four years afterwards." 
    All of the athletic activities at Austin College are outside of the academic schedules.  This means the students don't have to miss a class.  They do have to learn how to prioritize and manage their time.
    David said Division III is the purest form of athletics.  They encourage students to come to Austin College and discover something that's important to them.  When they find what's important to them David said they will help them develop it. Students at Austin College are balancing a very strict academic curriculum while playing in an intercollegiate program.  It is not for everyone.  "Anybody can play, not anybody can play," noted Mr. Norman, "it takes a special person to balance that.  Most importantly, they are investing very heavily in their education.  
    The graduation rates at Austin College for the NCAA is 91.2%.  This means that anyone that started program, whether they finish or not, is tracked.  For the last eight years, every student who has gone through their program for four years has graduated.  David pointed out that it is a true team effort.  
    They tell students not to use academics as an excuse why they can't be great in athletics and not to use athletics as an excuse to why they can't be great in academics.  They can be great in both!  When it gets right down to it, they tell all their students it's pretty simple.  Go to class, manage your time, get some sleep.
    They require all of their first year student athletes to wake up and have breakfast by 8:00 a.m.  This is done to encourage them to manage their day.  Their business day is from 8 am to 4 pm and then they go to practice.  They also involve all of their student athletes in four mandatory sessions within the first four weeks of school.  They are time management, how to talk to your professor, how to study for your test, and writing.  
    Reading, writing and interpersonal communicating are a top priority at Austin College.  Of the 400 student athletes at Austin College, the overall G.P.A. in the program is 3.125 out of 4.0, which is very good.  
    Austin College is home to 18 different sports.  During the September 15-16 weekend Austin College will be hosting the first ever NCAA intercollegiate water polo contest.  Austin College is the only college in the state of Texas that offers water polo at the NCAA level.  Also, all of the sporting events at Austin College are free to attend.
    Mr, Norman proclaimed that Austin College is special and it's only special because of the people that are there and the people that support them.  It's the people that support them not just in athletics but also academically.  It's the people who come to events or recommend a student attend Austin College and especially those who help them with the financial part of it.
Randy Truxal - GC Foundation
      Randy Truxal is the Executive Director of the Grayson College Foundation.  He has been with Grayson College going on five years but has 32 years experience in development and fund raising.  
     When it comes to scholarships for students, there is always a need, however, demand always exceeds supply.  Although Grayson awarded $619,000 in scholarships this year, there were students who were left out.
    Grayson offers three types of scholarships.  The annual scholarship is one where a donation is made on an annual basis and then awarded to a student within the criteria set by the donating party.  It is divided and applied to the student's first and second semesters.
    A second is the transfer scholarship. They have two endowments that are set up specifically for Grayson students that will continue their education when they transfer to a four year college of their choice.  It will pay $1,000 per semester for the next two years of their education.
    The third scholarship is an endowment.  Many donors wish to either establish a named or endowed scholarship in their own name, in the name of a local business or in honor or memory of someone else. Not only can you determine the name of the scholarship, you can also determine the recipient criteria. In addition to the basic standards established by the Grayson College Foundation (credit-hour enrollment each semester and minimum 2.5 GPA), donors may designate additional criteria, such as: major, graduate of a particular high school, etc. The Foundation Scholarship Committee makes every attempt to match the scholarship applicant with the appropriate scholarship.     Once the initial endowment level of $5,000 is reached, the Grayson College Foundation invests the principal balance, then after a full year they begin presenting annual awards of 4-5% of the corpus of the fund, (as long as our earnings allow).  The donor may then continue to “grow” the endowment to higher levels and subsequently increasing the amount of the annual award that is generated by the earnings on the investment.  An endowed scholarship will continue to give every year.
    Randy noted that many times a scholarship is the difference between a student going to school and not going to school.  Even buying books for a student could be the difference of whether the student stays in school or pays their electric bill.  Grayson will do their best to help all students in need.  It is important to realize that the majority of Grayson's students are first time college students.
    Another very good reason why it’s good to help Grayson students receive their diploma is that 50% to 70% of them move back into the Texoma area.
Jenifer Politi - Sherman High School Principal
    Jenifer Politi is the new Sherman High School principal.  Along with experience, she brings an awesome enthusiasm and dedication to do what is best for the students.
    Sherman High School will have a new home in a coujple of years, but in meantime there is a lot of work to do.  They are currently finalizing the master schedule to ensure the students are in the correct classes.  There are 1,920 students enrolled so far this year, which is 50 more than last year.  The classrooms are busting at the seams, the hallways are packed and the students are excited.
    Jenifer said she was happy to finally get the kids back on campus after getting all the procedures in place, having campus discipline ready for the future and ensuring their instruction is where it needs to be to keep the students engaged.  Their big push is to also make sure the teachers stay engaged and stay focused on why they are here for the right reasons.
    Before coming to Sherman, Jenifer the campus principal at New Diana for six years before working in the central office for a year.  Prior to that she worked ten years for Arlington ISD where she was assistant principal at Arlington High School the last four years.  Prior to that Jenifer worked for an international sports marketing firm as a creative director and graphic designer.
    The drive to work in education runs in her family.  Her grandfather was a principal in New York.  
    When is comes to discipline, Jenifer has implemented a progressive plan. She said it allows the students to make mistakes because they are kids.  During their four years on campus it allows them to learn from their mistakes.  
    Jenfier said her main goal is concentrating on making sure procedures are all kept up to date and working, along with safety.  She said she wants her teachers teaching and not having to worry about anything else.
Bob Rhoden - Four Rivers Outreach
    Bob Rhoden, Four Rivers Outreach executive director, shared a couple of many success stories.  The most recent occurred last week.
    A young man entered their program last year when he was 17, however Bob said they asked him to leave because he wasn't quite ready.  He returned a few months later at the age of 18.  
    Bob said the young man was in a little better shape to participate this time.  Previously, it was hard to get him to engage.  As it turns out, this man had been homeless more than once, had lived in a car with his mother and even lived under the stairwell of an apartment complex.  He had also developed a drug problem.  His mother took him to Four Rivers and asked for help because she couldn't handle him any longer.
    After some "milkshake therapy" as Bob called it, the conversation with this young man who was now 19 resulted in him getting enrolled in school so he could earn a diploma as opposed to a GED.  He set a very difficult goal for himself to graduate in May with the other high school graduates.  He surprised everyone by completing three and a half years of high school core subjects in about six months and graduated from Sherman High School in May.  
    He went on to complete the Four River program and graduated last week.  He has moved back to Fort Worth to live with his mother and is concentrating his efforts to help her.  He has also enrolled in Tarrant College.  He now has a bright future because he was able to find something he could hold onto and best of all, he is now drug free.
    During the graduation, Bob said they allow the men in the program or anyone who has worked with the graduate to say a few words.  It became obvious very quickly that this young man had also inspired everyone else by his dedication and hard work to achieve his goal of earning his high school diploma.  
    Bob noted that there are only 16 available beds at the facility and although they can theoretically graduate 16 a year, the reality of it is much less.  They have a positive rate of around 60% which is much better than most places.  The program completion rate of 15% at Four Rivers is much better than the 2% to 3% range on average.  
    Mr. Rhoden added that they are in the forgiveness business.  That is the only thing they have to offer and they give it out ever day.
    In a heartfelt tone, Bob said, "It's the toughest job I've ever had, but it's the greatest job I've ever had."  He also expressed his appreciation Rotary has given to Four Rivers over the years.
    Their annual fund raising event will be held on September 27th at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Rory Feek will headline the entertainment. 
    A true renaissance man, Rory Feek is known as one of Nashville’s premiere songwriters, entrepreneurs and out-of-the-box thinkers. He is a world class storyteller that crosses all creative mediums from music and film to books and Internet. 
    As a songwriter, Rory’s written multiple number-one songs and had dozens of other songs he’s written recorded by Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Reba, Waylon Jennings and many others.  As a recording artist, Rory is one-half of the Grammy winning country-music duo Joey+Rory. 
    For more information, contact Bob Rhoden at 903.870.4000, or by email at
Dr. Jeannine Hatt & Dr. Chuck Phelps - Race For Grace
Dr. Chuck Phelps, Kate Whitfield, Dr. Jeannine Hatt
    Dr. Chuck Phelps and Dr. Jeannine Hatt have been helping others worldwide for many years.  They first got involved in international volunteerism in 1990, and have since traveled to South America, Central America and Haiti.  
    They got involved because they thought it would be an interesting way to learn about a new culture, they could provide healthcare to those who had very little and especially wanted to be able to take their children.  Being physicians, what really drove them to get involved was the desire to help others, and in particular, children.  
    Dr. Hatt shared some shocking statistics.  Only 3% of the world's children live in the U.S.  Ninety percent of the children are born in resource poor countries.  In 1990, the under 5 mortality rate in industrial countries was less than 5/1000.  In least developed countries is was more than 100/1000.  The major killers include acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, malaria, measles and malnutrition.  These are simple diseases that are treatable here in our country.
    With that, Dr. Hatt said they didn't want to "just put a band aid on a big aching wound."  They wanted to get involved with an organization that was there all the time and empowered the local healthcare system which provided preventative healthcare as well as curative healthcare.
    In 2000, they were invited to visit a small children's hospital in Haiti.  Haiti shares the western third of the island Hispaniola, with the Dominican Republic.  Haiti has the reputation of being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere along with they highest infant mortality rate.  
    The International Child Care program started over 40 years ago when a U.S. couple on a cruise were in port in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  As they wondered off the beaten path they noticed children dying largely from tuberculosis.  When the couple returned home they raised money and started the Grace Children's Hospital.
    In 2010, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake destroyed Grace Children's Hospital.  Estimates claim 300,000 lives were lost and another 300,000 injured.  1.5 million citizens were displaced.  37,867 remain displaced as of September 2017.  There were 122 Americans confirmed dead.
    Fourteen years ago, Dr. Hatt & Dr. Phelps put together a Race For Grace cycling team to participate in the Hotter 'n Hell 100 event in Wichita Falls, Texas. They ride to raise money for the health programs of International Child Care for kids and families in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, including the flagship mission Grace Children's Hospital.  The HH100 event takes place the last weekend in August. This year's event will be Saturday, August 25, 2018.
    Dr. Phelps said they average around seventy riders and raise about $70,000.  To date they have raised over $500,000.  For more information visit their website at
Bill Slicker - Rotary International District 5810 Governor
Rotary International District 5810 Governor Bill Slicker's Official Club Visit.  He was introduced by Grayson Rotary Club President Stacy Braddock.
    Bill Slicker, Rotary International District 5810 Governor for 2018-19, inspired everyone during his official club visit last week.  John Moser, District Governor Nominee (Allen Sunrise) and Pete McLellan, Assistant Governor, (McKinney) accompanied Bill.
    "It's a great day to be a Rotarian," proclaimed DG Slicker.  "The good thing about Rotary is we just want to continue having fun while we serve our Rotary community.  Sometimes we hear criticism that we are an international organization and we don't do enough at home, but what we are doing in our communities is unbelievable."   What we are finding more and more is Rotary is working together with other organizations.  This is what makes Rotary so unique.  We do things worldwide.
    Thirty years ago when Rotary took on the task of eradicating polio, people thought we were nuts.  Although we did many things in communities all around the world, we didn't have a health background.  What we did though, was find the right partners.
    In other projects such as clean water, Rotary is changing their model some.  In years past, Rotary would see a need and give money to help.  Now, they are going to the communities and asking what they need most.  At that point, Rotary is asking the communities to invest as well so they have some buy-in.  This seems to be helping projects with sustainability.  
    Just recently, Rotary signed an agreement with Ghana, to provide 1 million flush toilets.  Local citizens will be trained to make the toilets.  These toilets only take one cup or container of water for flushing.  Although Rotary is funding this project, the people are asked to pay for it.
    In regards to polio, we are down to three countries:  Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.  Last March, 70,000 workers immunized 10 million kids.  Bill was involved in a National Immunization Day in India, in 2004, and shared his story of what it was like to administer the polio vaccine.  Although we are making great progress, Rotary still needs your support.
    Bill asked that each Rotarian give $120 per year ($10 per month).  He also wants us to give something to PolioPlus and to continue supporting their community.  
    DG Slicker thanked everyone for what we have done and continue to do.  Bill said, "It is a privilege and honor to be a Rotarian and if we can communicate that to everybody, we have done our job.  It's a great day to be a Rotarian."
    Bill joined the Dallas Rotary Club in 1999, having been a previous member of Roswell, Georgia since 1987.  He served as the Dallas Rotary Club's president in 2007-08, and their Foundation chair in 2008-09.  He was the Permanent Fund advisor for the United States and Canada from 2003-2005, and the District's Foundation chair in 2016-17.  Bill has participated in several Rotary initiatives including a 2004 National Immunization Day in India.  He is also the District's first Arch Klumph Society member.
    “Be The Inspiration.”
Brett Smith - Grayson County Criminal District Attorney
    Brett Smith was recently selected as interim District Attorney by the Commissioner's Court.  He is filling in for Joe Brown who left to be the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
    Brett has taken on the responsibility very seriously although he only has the job until January 1st.  He will, however, be running for the position of District Attorney as a Republican when elections take place this coming November.  Brett has already made improvements as the D.A.
    We use to have what was known as the County Attorney's office and District Attorney's office.  The County Attorney had jurisdiction over misdemeanors the District Attorney had jurisdiction over felonies.  All counties had their County Attorney but many smaller counties didn't have enough felony cases so the District Attorney would cover more than one county. Several years ago Joe Brown sought legislative permission to develop a Criminal District Attorney's office that would have jurisdiction over all cases.  
    Having been an assistant District Attorney and working in the system for the past 15 years, Brett has been able to see things he thought needed to be changed.  One of the first things Brett implemented is an after hours phone in which he keeps with him 24-7.  The special phone number has been given out to all law enforcement.  This shows law enforcement in the county that the D.A.'s office is here to support and help them at all times.  Brett noted that law enforcement isn't a 9 to 5 job, it's an around the clock job because it's all about law enforcement.
    Brett explained the Grand Jury selection process and responsibilities.  The selection process has changed in recent years.  In years past the jury was selected by the commissioners.  Grand jurors are now selected like regular jurors.  They are summoned in to serve on a jury and they may be thinking it's just for a day or two, but then find out it's for Grand Jury service which encompasses a couple days a week for six months.  
    The Grand jurors are then selected by a District Judge.  They will then go through a voir dire process to make sure they are qualified to serve on the Grand Jury.  The District Attorney will educate the jurors on what serving on a Grand Jury means.  The Texas Constitution says that before anyone gets indicted in the state of Texas, it has to go through a Grand Jury.  The Grand Jury is a panel of citizens that decides whether or not it is okay for the government to return an indictment against a person.  The District Attorney will present their cases to the Grand Jury who will then decide if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
    Brett said they are testing a new process that will allow their investigators to present cases for law enforcement from the smaller towns to the Grand Jury.  Often times the smaller towns may only have one officer on duty.  When they have to come to Sherman to present their case they would leave that town without law enforcement for several hours.  Most of the time the Grayson County Sheriff's office will have an officer fill in but that reduces their resources.  This new process should be very helpful to the smaller communities as well as the Sheriff's office, but the ultimate decision will be on whether the members of the Grand Jury determine if it is beneficial or not.  So far, it seems to be working.
    Brett is also looking at bringing in a diversion court system.  A diversion program in the criminal justice system is a form of sentence in which the criminal offender joins a rehabilitation program, which will help remedy the behavior leading to the original arrest, and avoid conviction and a criminal record.  Initially, this will be for young, first time, non-violet offenders.  Brett said they will model their program after Tarrant County who has several very successful diversion programs.
    Now, when it comes to criminals, Brett is tough!  He has more life sentence convictions than everyone else is the D.A.'s office with the exception of Kerye Ashmore who was been prosecuting for 35 years.  When it comes to violent offenders or child abusers, Brett will put them away for good.
    Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt added that everything Mr. Smith has done and plans to do will significantly help with the jail population.  They have a great working relationship with the District Attorney's office.
Stacy Braddock - Grayson Rotary's 32nd Club President
    We came full circle once again for the 32nd time, but we weren’t alone for the most part.  You see, all 32,000 plus clubs and 529 Districts around the world as well as Rotary International itself undergoes a change of leadership effective July 1st each year.  
    This year, club past president Lisa Hebert (14-15) performed the installation of officers and directors for the Rotary Club of Grayson County.  She first reminded everyone of “The Object Of Rotary.”  The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:  First - The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service; Second - High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society; Third - The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life; and Fourth - The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service. 
    Cindy Brandt was installed as Club Administrator (8th Year).  Norman Gordon (4th Year) and Sarah Pierce (2nd Year) will continue as Membership co-chairs.  Terry Everett will continue as Club Secretary (9th Year), Bulletin Editor and Public Relations (23rd Year).  Kate Whitfield will take over as the Club’s Service Projects Chair.  She even proclaimed to be the Club’s Geriatric Athlete.  Mike Nix will serve as The Rotary Foundation Chair (2nd Year).  Steve Ramsey will continue as Club Treasurer (6th Year) through December and then Jim Walker (Treasurer 2008-12) will take over in January 2019, so that Steve Ramsey may prepare for his future Grayson Rotary role.  Cindy Brandt will take on a new office as the Club’s Sergeant-at-Arms.  Susan Whitenack will serve as our Fundraising Chair (2nd Year). 
    Stacy Braddock, Edwin Clark, Terry Everett, Lisa Hebert, Mike Nix, Steve Ramsey and Jim Walker will all serve on the Scholarship Committee.  Paul Manley will run our Flag Lease Program (2 Year). Edwin Clark will oversee New Generations (3rd Year).
    Steve Ramsey was installed as Club President-Elect.  Stacy Braddock was installed as Grayson County Rotary Club’s 32nd President.
    The members were then asked to support the Club’s Officers & Directors and the programs of the Club by their attendance, by participating in club activities, by paying their dues on time, by supporting all fundraising efforts, by being a good traveler, by singing with gusto, by volunteering to serve others and by living the 4-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.
    Jim Walker was then presented with a Past-President’s badge and thanked for a successful year.  Stacy was presented with a Club President’s plaque and the gavel to ring in the near year.  
    All officers and directors were presented with pins representing their office while they will Be The Inspiration for 2018-19.
Trish Wood - North Texas Young Professionals
    Trish Wood is the past chair of The North Texas Young Professionals.  She shared information on what they are all about and what they do.
    Founded in 2009, The North Texas Young Professionals have been developing Texoma’s future leaders by providing a forum for young professionals to build relationships, serve the community, promote local business, and engage with Pillars and business leaders in our community.
    With a diverse network of over 200 young professionals ranging from the mid 20’s to the mid 40’s, however, they have several members outside the age range as well. NTYP empowers future leaders to connect with other like-minded individuals who share the passion of networking, business development, philanthropy, and community.
    There are a number of ways to get involved in NTYP, including Quarterly Pillars Forum luncheons giving members opportunities to meet and hear from local leaders, networking happy hours to promote yourself and your business, and joining the Steering Committee. Our annual fundraiser, FIGHT NIGHT, is a USA Boxing sanctioned event held each May with dinner, drinks, and dancing. Proceeds benefit our chosen non-profit, North Texas Youth Connection, which serves runaway, homeless, and street youth to stabilize their living situation.
    The purpose of NTYP shall be to impact and influence our communities through innovative services to the membership in order to meet the following objectives:  1. To provide a forum for young professionals in the North Texas area an opportunity to establish and strengthen their business network. 2. To establish, interact with and maintain activities and organization available to young professionals.  3. To serve as an organizational framework for community service, networking, social, influential and educational activities.  4. To provide an opportunity for North Texas young professionals to obtain information and create and maintain the network and leadership skills necessary to serve family, profession and community.  5. To influence local and state government officials to remain diligent to promote local business and community interests.
    They have a "Happy Hour" networking event once a month for their members.  They also have networking luncheons throughout the year.  
    Every three months they have a Pillars Forum Luncheon.  Someone with experience in our community speaks on the do's and don't's of running a business to help the young professionals learn and be more productive within our community.  
    They also have fund raising evens throughout the year.  NTYP's charity of choice is the North Texas Youth Connection.  In addition to their fundraising events they have several service projects throughout the year as well.
    To learn more about NTYP or for more information on becoming a member visit their website at or check out their Facebook page at
Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt & Chief Deputy Sheriff Tony Bennie
    Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt and Grayson County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tony Bennie spoke on the the newly formed North Texas Criminal Interdiction Unit (NTXICU).  This is the first of it's kind not only in Texas, but in the United States.  
    So far, they have assembled a coalition on nine counties.  Grayson and Collin are the original signatory agents.  The other counties participating so far include Hunt, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Wise, Smith and Wood.
    Texas, and more specifically the Rio Grande Valley, are the epicenter of illegal drugs and human trafficking entering the United States.  Tony displayed a map showing the drug flow into Texas and how it all flows through the DFW area with a huge portion coming right through Grayson County. Since NTXICU's inception on December 18, 2017, their results have been nothing short of incredible!  In the first quarter, they have seized $60,000 of hidden U.S. currency, 1,479 lbs. of marijuana, 5 lbs of cocaine, 61 lbs. of methamphetamine, 9 lbs. of heroin, 1/2 lb. of fentynal, 13 lbs. of THC products, 8 stolen motor vehicles and 4 automatic weapons.
    Better yet, they have made 57 arrests which includes two fugitives wanted for capital murder in Los Angeles, CA, and Little Rock, AR.  The deputies arresting the murder capital fugitive from Los Angeles, also recovered a missing female child.  On another unrelated traffic stop, NTXICU deputies rescued a missing child from Austin, TX.  
    Tony added that they will never be able to completely stop the flow of illegal drugs and human trafficking, but they will have a big impact.  He anticipates that as they become more successful, the cartels will eventually find another route.  Tony also believes they will bring more counties into the NTXICU as well as add additional units to the East and West.
   Deputies serving in the unit are authorized to make arrests in any participating county. All wear the same uniforms and drive cars with similar markings. Their goal: To stop the movement of illegal drugs and human trafficking on North Texas highways.
    Tony shared a video showing several success stories confiscating illegal drugs and someone wanted for murder.  We also saw some of the very creative ways they try to smuggle drugs into and throughout the country.  
    All currency that is confiscated goes back into the program to buy new technology or whatever they need to improve their success rate.  They have a special process in which the illegal drugs are destroyed.  The autos may be sold at an auction or possiblly used undercover depending on the condtion.  The firearms are either destroyed or sold at auction as well.
Sarah Pierce - Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas
    Sarah Pierce, Marketing Specialist for Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas, shared information on what Goodwill is all about and how they help the our communities.  The Northeast Texas Goodwill covers seventeen counties.
    Goodwill is a 501(c)(3) organization encompassing fourteen territories across Texas. Each territory is ran by an independent board of directors.  
    Sarah shared her heart and passion she has for Goodwill by explaining how they help so many people in our community.  Goodwill's mission is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities or disadvantages.  This is accomplished through education, training and placement in gainful employment.
    Sarah emphasized that their mission starts with you and their mission ends with you. What she means is that every time you make a donation and every time you shop in their store eighty-five cents of each dollar you spend goes back into their mission.  Fifteen cents of each dollar is used to pay the employees, whether it's in the office, the stores or the plant.  It is to improve the quality of life to those with disadvantages ranging from being born with physical or mental handicap to those who may have a felony record and have no place to go or know how to get help.
    It is their goal to provide an avenue where these individuals can develop a sense of self-worth, learn to believe in themselves and become productive citizens.  They will prepare and help place those with employment barriers into competitive jobs with other area companies. 
    Steve Avard pointed out that Goodwill was started in this community by Rotarians.  They have also supported Goodwill over the years. Steve served 16 years on the Goodwill board of directors.
    David Bayless, who has supported Goodwill for several years, added that one thing everyone should do is to attend their annual banquet.  You will then be able to witness all the great things the disadvantaged people are doing.  What these people have been able to accomplish and do for their own lives brings the spirit back to you of what Goodwill is doing by providing something for them to make them feel important as well.
    In Sherman back in 1958, John Sicks, a prominent member of the community, had heard of some disabled people that were struggling to make a living in a small building on Brockett Street. They had opened a resale shop and stocked it with merchandise they had dug out of the trash, or had been given. They took the items and refurbished them as well as they could, and put them out for resale. John wanted to help these people, but was not sure where or how to begin.
    John began by talking to others in the community he felt would be interested in helping the less fortunate and gathered information. He discussed his dream with Rev. Arch Tolbert and came to the conclusion that a Goodwill Industries type of operation might work in Grayson County, to provide employment for individuals with disabilities.
    During the next eight months he worked every day to make his dream come true. He talked to countless people throughout the county, wrote innumerable letters, and made many trips to Dallas to talk to the Goodwill Corporation leaders there. His patience and skills enabled him to solve each problem as it arose.
    Like Helms, he was determined to let no obstacle prevent the realization of his dream. When he had his information and plan ready he met with the Sherman Rotary Club Board. The Board, and later the entire Club, endorsed the idea of sponsoring the program for the disabled. The Rotary Club launched the program in 1959.
Eddie Brown - Sherman Chamber of Commerce
    Eddie Brown, Sherman Chamber of Commerce President brought us up to date on what the chamber was doing.  He began by expressing his appreciation of Grayson Rotary’s flag program.  
    When Eddie began with the Chamber seven years ago, he said their first item of business was to get out of debt.  With the help of the board and others in the community, that is now behind them.  Eddie said he learned that if you will just be honest with people they will work with you and that’s exactly what they did.
    They also wanted to get rid of any unnecessary expenses.  It took about nine months to take care of that.  Once that was done they were able to move forward with their growth plans.
    The third goal is to grow the Chamber financially and to leave it in good standing when the time comes for the next person to run the Chamber. They are doing a pretty good job of getting this done as well.
    The Chamber is thriving and growing including their membership.  The expect to grow between 60 and 75 members this year.  They have grown about fifty members a year over the past five years.  Sherman grew by about 1,000 people in 2016 which adds to the Chamber’s growth as well.  
    Not only do they want to grow their membership base but they want to grow leadership program, too.  They will host their 32nd leadership class this coming September.  They had 30 go through the leadership class last year and expect to have that many again this year.  If you are interested, contact the Sherman Chamber to hold your spot now before they are gone.
    The Chamber’s magazine also continues to grow.  This year’s is their largest with about 100 pages.  Not only has the size of the magazine grown, but so has the distribution numbers.  It has increased from 3,000 seven years ago to 20,000 this past year.  The magazines are distributed each January.  
    The are currently working on their maps that they produce produce every 18 months.  It is a map of Sherman on one side and Grayson County on the other.
    So you may be asking why maps because everyone uses their phone any more, but oh contraire.  They have grown this as well from 3,000 maps every 18 months to 7,000.
    They recently held their 7th annual golf tournment.  The have gone from about 50-60 golfers the first year to filling all 136 spots this year.
    About a month ago they held their first quarterly Women’s Networking Event. There were about 50 women in attendance.  They will have a different speaker each time.
    Most recently they held their first Lunch & Learn.  They sold all 60 spots in about 10 days.  The speaker talked about business etiquette ranging from handshakes to the do’s and don’ts of business table manners.  This will become a quarterly event as well.
    About 75% of all Chambes around the country are made up of small businesses.  The Chamber helps small businesses through networking. This is very important because small businesses don’t have the budget to do a lot of expensive advertising.  They help with legislative contacts if needed for any issues that may come up.  The Chamber also works closely with the Grayson College Small Business Development Center which offers free advice to small businesses.
Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt & Chief Deputy Tony Bennie -  Intelligence Led Policing
    Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt and Chief Deputy Tony Bennie are in the process of implementing a new intelligence system that is going to do a heck of a lot more than just take a bite out of crime.  If you are going to break the law, you might as well just make it easy on yourself and turn yourself in.
    Tom said there are two types of policing.  There is reactive policing which is the normal way to do things or there's proactive policing.  With proactive policing they will be able to identify those who are causing the most difficulty in the community and put practices in place to deal with them.  Tom experienced the intelligence led policing when he was with the Sherman Police Department several years ago and saw the advantages.
    Tony first experienced intelligence led policing in 2007, when he was promoted to lieutenant as a Texas Ranger.  His first duty as a lieutenant was to lead his company on border patrol in Laredo, Texas.  Tony was one of five lieutenants.  They other areas patrolled were El Paso, Marfa, Del Rio and McAllen.  Although they knew there was a huge drug problem, there was also an issue with undocumented children being sent across the border without any adult supervision.  
    As devastating as the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City was, it was more of a symbolic attack when you think about the nation's economy, noted Chief Bennie.  Within three hours of the Texas-Mexico border is the Texas Gulf Coast where 65% of the nation's oil is refined.  If they had attacked the refineries in South Texas, it would have really crippled this nation's economy.  
    Looking at the border, 50% of all criminal activity that effects this country derives from the Rio Grande Valley.  Seventy-five percent of the crimes coming in from Mexico to Texas, are in the Rio Grande Valley.  The benefits of intelligence led policing has led them to focus on a 94 mile area of responsibility (AOR).  Chief Bennie said they were so effective with intelligence led policing that a big portion of the illegal activity coming in from Mexico started coming into the U.S. in New Mexico, Arizona and California.
    Tony said they used their information to strategically place teams where they would be the most successful.  By using this intelligence they were quite successful in stopping the drug cartels and taking their drugs and cash away.  
    Of the five major thoroughfares going north out of Mexico, two of them go through Grayson County.  Not only are there a lot drugs passing through but other crimes including human trafficking are also finding their way through our area.  
    Chief Bennie added that what impressed him the most was being able to do all the work on the front end by gathering all the information to determine where they would be the most successful.  This is exactly what they are implementing now in Grayson County.
    This new way of policing will make the Sheriff's Department more efficient which in turn makes better use of the taxpayer's dollar.  Bottom line, it works!
Robin Bethel & Cheryl Vaughan - Child Protective Services
      Robin Bethel, Child Protective Services Supervisor, has been with CPS for 25 years.  Cheryl Vaughan is the Grayson County assistant district attorney who works the cases for CPS.  CPS is a governmental agency responsible for providing child protection which includes responding to reports of child abuse or neglect.
    Cheryl said that many of the cases involve parents using drugs.  The parents usually don't realize the effect it has on the kids even though they may not be using drugs around the children.  Sometimes the mother's may be using drugs while they are pregnant which can really cause problems later on.  Robin added that sex trafficking is now becoming more of an issue and something they are having to deal with.  
    When a referral is received it goes to Austin, Texas, for investigation.  It is then assigned to the county in which the family resides.  Priorities are placed depending on the situation with response times for each incident.  Investigators then have thirty days to complete their investigations. 
    Alternative Response is a relatively new approach giving CPS workers the flexibility to use different tools and strategies so respond to a range of situations.  For some families, CPS must use a traditional services response to investigate and determine if abuse or neglect occurred and to ensure child safety and well-being.  For many families, it's more appropriate for CPS to work collaboratively with families to identify concerns and find solutions that keep families together and give them the services and supports they need to keep their children safe.
    Robin shared some alarming statistics.  For March 2018, there were 123 intake cases with 82 being completed.  Of those, 13 children were removed from their home.  There were 185 children placed in substitute care.  Only 63 children remained in Grayson County while 122 were placed in subcare in another county.  Sixty-five children were placed in subcare in Grayson County from another county.
    It is a very traumatic experience for the child when they are removed from their home and then add that to everything they have already been through. Imagine if you were removed and taken somewhere else to live without being able to take anything with you.  Cheryl said child removal is a last resort measure.  They do everything they can to keep children with their own families.
    There are seventeen investigators, nine family service workers and ten conservatorship workers serving Grayson County.  Cheryl emphasized that we need more foster parents in Grayson County.  
    Robin shared a couple of stories with happy outcomes and noted there are many others as well.  
Drew Satterwhite - Greater Texoma Utility Authority
    Drew knows H2O! Drew Satterwhite is the general manager for GTUA (Greater Texoma Utility Authority).
    GTUA is a political subdivision of the state of Texas, created in 1979, by the request of Sherman and Denison. They were created for the purpose of assisting area water, wastewater and solid waste providers with
infrastructure, financing and operational needs.
    GTUA is ran by a nine member board of directors. The cities of Sherman
and Denison appoint three members each. One is from Gainesville, one from Anna and one other member representing general law cities. They have added 15 member cities since and so each city appoints a general law city member.
    Lake Texoma is a 2.5 million acre -foot reservoir. Half of it is for flood control. Thirty percent is designated from water supply and hydropower. The remaining 20% is the inactive pool at the bottom reserved for sedimentation.
    GTUA is currently involved in several projects that include the Sherman water treatment plant, the wastewater treatment plant and systems. They are also involved with the Krum water well, the Tom Bean well and pump station, the Ector wastewater treatment plant, the Princeton pump station, the Gunter wastewater treatment plant and water well and several more.
    In 1997, Senate Bill 1, enacted by the Texas Legislature, confirmed that "groundwater conservation districts . . . are the state's preferred method of groudwater management trough rules developed, adopted and promulgated by a district." In 2007, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a report advising one or more groundwater conservation districts would need to be created in the 13-county area of North Central Texas, including Collin, Cooke, Denton, Fannin and Grayson Counties.
    The Red River Groundwater Conservation District was created May 25, 2009, by Senate Bill 2529 for Fannin and Grayson Counties. There are seven board of directors, four appointed from Grayson and three from Fannin. The RRGCD entered in a management agreement with the GTUA to provide management and staffing for the District in 2011.
    The North Texas Groundwater Conservation District was created May 27, 2009, by Senate Bll 2497 for Collin, Cooke and Denton Counties They will have 3 directors from each county. They entered into a management agreement with the GTUA just like Red River. There are 100 confirmed groundwater conservation districts in Texas.
    Over 59% of Texas' water is groundwater. A large part of that is from the agricultural production. Grayson County uses over 50% groundwater to meet their needs as well. If it weren't for Sherman and Denison Grayson County would only use groundwater.
    GTUA must plan ahead so they will know how much water is needed in the future as the population grows. In 2010, the population of Texas, was 25,145,000. They predict an increase to 29,650,000 by 2020. Drew thanked the forward thinking leaders of our communities from a few years back who saw the need to get in on the Texoma water deal when it was available. Thankfully, we are in good shape when it comes to water needs of the future in North Texas, compared to many of the other areas around the state.
Shawn Coker - Grayson Central Appraisal District
    Shawn Coker, chief apopraiser for the Grayson Central Appraisal District, explained what they do.  He also told us what they don’t do.
    First off, the GCAD does NOT set the tax rate.  They don’t collect the money either.  They “do” however, determine property values as fairly as possible.
    Property taxes in Texas, are one of the biggest taxes we have.  Reason being, we don't have a state income tax, our sales tax is pretty typical with other states, and our consumption tax is less than a lot of states.  Texas ranks 4th highest when it comes to property taxes. mThat hasn't slowed down homes sales though, especially in Grayson County where homes sell very quickly.  Last year, there were approximately 2,020 sales.
    It's still relatively cheap to live in Texas.  People continue to move to Texas, because of the job market.  Grayson County has an unemployment rate of about 3%.  The federal government considers about 3% of our population unemployable, so that means most everyone in Grayson County who can work has a job.  Local industries are having a hard time filling all of their positions.  Shawn said that companies like Tyson and Ruiz are fighting each other for employees, so to speak.  
    The appraisal district is a political subdivision of the State of Texas.  Their duties include establishing and maintaining accurate property values for all real and business personal property.  The Texas Property Tax Code is the primary source of law and guidance for the Texas property tax system. 
    Property taxes are local taxes that provide the largest source of money local governments use to pay for schools, streets, roads, police, fire protection and many other services. Texas law establishes the process followed by local officials in determining the value for property, ensuring that values are equal and uniform, setting tax rates and collecting taxes.
    Local taxing units, including the school districts, counties, cities, junior colleges and special districts, decide how much money they must spend to provide public services. Property tax rates are set according to taxing unit budgets. Some taxing units have access to other revenue sources, such as a local sales tax. School districts must rely on the local property tax, in addition to state and federal funds.
    Taxation must be equal and uniform. No single property or type of property should pay more than its fair share. The property taxes you pay are based on the value of property you own.  Generally, all property must be taxed based on its current market value. That's the price it would sell for when both buyer and seller seek the best price and neither is under pressure to buy or sell.  Each property in a county must have a single appraised value. This means that the various local governments to which you pay property taxes cannot assign different values to your property; all must use the same value. This is guaranteed by the use of county appraisal districts.  
Leigh Walker - Family Promise of Grayson County
    Did you know that 2.5 million children and their parents in America will experience homelessness this year?  Family Promise is leading the fight against family homelessness.  Family Promise comprises over 200 affiliates in 42 states.
    Leigh Walker is executive director of the Grayson County chapter.  They will be open and ready to begin helping families May 6, 2018.
    When a family enters the program, Family Promise helps them begin to rebuild their lives.  They help them find housing and help them jobs as well as offer job training,  They help the find health care and even day care.  It is a very comprehensive program.  Nearly 75% of the families secure housing within nine weeks of entering the program.
    Sadly, over 700 kids within the Sherman ISD are homeless.  This represents the largest percentage of homeless kids In Region 10 which includes Dallas.  
    Leigh said the guests will stay in one of the Grayson County host churches.  They are looking to add a couple more host churches so they will have at least thirteen.  This will have each host church participating no more than four times a year.  They will transport the guests in the evening to the host church.  The host church will provide dinner and allow the family to participate in church activities in they so choose.  They host church will provide a private room for the family to sleep.  
    FPGC will be able to host up to four families of up to 14 people.  Breakfast is provided as well as supplies to make lunches to take with them.  The children are able to eat lunch at school.  In the morning, the families are picked up and taken to the Day Center where they can get ready for the day.  The children are picked up by their home school buses.  After one week, the family is relocated to another host church.
    The Day Center, which is located on Houston Street in Sherman, provides a homelike atmosphere for them from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Many of the guests are employed and will go to work.  Other guests work the the Network Director to find jobs and housing.  The Day Center has shower facilities as well as washers and dryers.  Children not old enough for school have a designated are at the Center.
    To learn more about Family Promise, visit: or  If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, please contact Leigh Walker at 903-271-1088 or write her at
Greg Howse - Sherman ISD School Pyschologist
    Many of us never heard  anything about autism when we were in school.  We hear about it quite often in today's society however.  Autism affects one in sixty-five children.  More children have autism than those with cancer.  Parents spend $60,000 plus per year for the care of a child who has autism.
    Greg Howse, licensed specialist in School Psychology at Sherman I.S.D., said that autism began to emerge in literature in the early 1900's.  It was used to describe people with a mental disorder known as schizophrenia.  
    It wasn't until two researchers, one in the United States in 1943, and another in Germany in 1944, began to describe these children who were having developmental disabilities.  American child psychiatrist Leo Kanner began using the term autism to describe these children.  German Hans Asperger described children with very similar developmental issues as Asperger's Syndrome, keeping his last name in the title.
    In the 1950's, research thought autism was more of an emotional disorder.  Parents were often blamed and especially mothers. They coined the term "Refrigerator Mother's" saying they were too cold with their child and didn't play or interact with them.
    It wasn't until the late 60's or early 70's that there was a genetic component behind that particular disorder.  Autism never made it into he diagnostic manual until the 1980's.  It was then called infantile autism.  It wasn't recognized in the schools until the early 90's as an educational disability when the federal government changed the law.
    When autism was first introduced in the diagnostic manual there were six criteria in which all had to be met.  There was a revision and you only had to meet eight of sixteen.  There was another revision and now it is called a spectrum disorder.  Greg said this means a person can encounter characteristics and difficulties with this particular disorder ranging from a very significant and severe impairment where you have almost no communication with people to one where a person is much more functional.  
    Researchers are looking into causal factors just like anything else we don't know much about.  We do know there are some genetic markers associated with autism but it doesn't account for everything.  Greg said we know a lot more about how to help the students than we do about how they got to where they are, so to speak.
    There are a couple of things to look at in regards to autism.  One is how they communicate with other people socially. Some may avoid eye contact or even refrain from talking to you.  Students with autism have a great deal of difficulty expressing feelings or even communicating non-verbally.  Many of us use our hands to communicate while we talk while autistic children do not.
    Autistic people don't pick up on facial expressions so they don't understand emotions or perhaps the same feelings we feel.  Language is very literal to them.  This is something that a student may possess a little or a lot of.  Some students have no language so part of the goal is to help them communicate with others.  
    Students with autism have a very difficult time getting out of their routine. They enjoy patterns and consistency. Greg added another area they help them with is adapting to change and transition.  
    Many students have certain topics they are interested in such as youtube, video games or super heroes.  They will know an exceptional amount of information on their preferred topic and will talk hours about it.  You can change the topic with them and they may temporarily go along with you but will quickly circle back to their topic of choice.
    Greg emphasized that the earlier they can detect a child with autism the better the outcome.  They work with Early Childhood Intervention and physicians to help determine if a child has autism.  A child can usually be diagnosed by the age of two, sometimes three.
    Greg proudly added that a girl had gone all the way through the Sherman school system and received a full ride at Austin College where she graduated with honors.  She still has some social difficulties though.  
Wanda Kauffman - Grayson County CASA
    Wanda Kaufmann just couldn't get enough of a good thing so she got even more involved.  She has been involved with Grayson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for ten years.  Wanda was a volunteer for five years before joining the CASA staff as their Volunteer Coordinator.  About six months ago she became their Program Director.
    CASA volunteers work with kids that have been removed from their homes by CPS (Child Protective Services).  They are considered as the children's voices in court.  CASA volunteers visit the children while they are in Foster homes.  Sometimes they continue their relationships when the kids go back to their homes.  They report back to the District Judges with what they have observed as well as their opinion on the situation.  Wanda said that sometimes they agree with CPS and sometimes they don't.  Their job is to look out for the best interest of the children.
    Last year, from October 2016-September 2017, CASA served 203 children with 65 volunteers.  Forty volunteers went through 30 hours of training.  They logged over 6,000 volunteer hours.  Currently, 72 supervisors and volunteers are covering 82 cases that involve 162 children.
    In 2017, CPS had 1,420 investigations.  They removed 406 children.  In February, there were 198 children in care.  These numbers are represented in just our community.
    To make matters worse, these kids are placed all over the state of Texas, because their aren't enough Foster homes locally.  Many are not only removed from their homes, but the are removed from their school and their friends.
    CASA volunteers are required to see the children at least once a month if they are within an hour drive.  If the children are within a three hour range they are required to see them at least once every three months.  For those over three hours away, they must see them at least once every 6 months.
    Cases usually last twelve months.  CPS can request an extension for an additional six months.  CASA volunteers will stay with their assigned kids the duration of the case.  Often times, they are the only constant in these kids' lives.
    Exactly what does a CASA volunteer do?  CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:
    Gather information: Conduct thorough research through review of documents and records, and speaking with children, family members and professionals in their lives.
    Document findings: Provide written reports at court hearings.
    Appear in court: Advocate for the child’s best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
    Recommend services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child’s health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
    Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed.
    Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members.
    To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, call 903-813-5400.  You must be at least 21 years old.
     April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Wanda asked everyone to wear blue during the month of April.   
David Cortinas - The Carmelita Torres Story & Bath Riots of 1917
    David Cortinas, Grayson Rotary past president (2012-13) shared some very timely, yet practically unknown Texas history with respect to Women's History Month.  It is the story of Carmelita Torres and the Bath Riots of 1917.
    Most historians have forgotten about this obscure incident that took place on the border in 1917.  This took place during World War I. It was also during the Mexican Revolution.
    For decades, U.S. health authorities used noxious, often toxic chemicals to delouse Mexicans seeking to cross the border into the United States.  American authorities regularly forced all other working-class Mexicans to take a bath and be sprayed with pesticides at the Santa Fe Bridge whenever they needed to cross into the United States.  This didn't take place at any other port in America; just El Paso.
    During this time, Tom Lea, Sr. was the mayor of El Paso.  The mayor's good friend, Dr. Kluttz, had informed him that the typhus lice does not stick to silk, so Mayor Lea always wore silk underwear.  He was a clean freak in more ways than one.  Lea was also determined to clean up the city by getting rid of all the dirty and corrupt politicians.
    Tom Lea sent letters and telegrams to Washington officials for months asking for a full quarantine against Mexicans at the border.  The local Public Health Service officials viewed the mayor's request as extreme.  
    Instead of quarantine camps, Dr. B. J. Lloyd, the public health service official stationed in El Paso, suggested setting up delousing plants. Echoing the El Paso mayor's racist language, Lloyd told his superiors he was "cheerfully" willing to "bathe and disinfect all the dirty, lousy people who are coming into this country from Mexico." Lloyd added prophetically that "we shall probably continue the work of killing lice in the effects of immigration the Mexican border for many years to come, certainly not less than ten years, and probably twenty-five years or more." (If anything, Lloyd underestimated things. The sterilization of human beings on the border would continue for more than 40 years.)
    Before being allowed to cross, Mexicans were completely shaved and then had to bathe, strip nude for an inspection, undergo the lice treatment, and have their clothes treated in a steam dryer.  The baths and fumigations (DDT, Zyklon B, Kerosene and Gasoline were used) continued for decades, long after the Mexican typhus scare ended. In order to work in the United States this process was done every eight days.  
    History took a turn when a 17-year-old maid refused to go through the process.  The El Paso Times described the leader of the Bath Riots as "an auburn-haired Amazon."  She sparked an uprising against a policy that would change the course of the history in El Paso and Juárez for decades.  Some even consider her a fronteriza Rosa Parks, yet her name has been mostly forgotten. 
    The "Amazon" was Carmelita Torres, a 17-year old Juárez maid who crossed the Santa Fe International Bridge into El Paso every morning to clean American homes.  At 7:30 a.m. on January 28, 1917, when Carmelita was asked by the customs officials at the bridge to get off the trolley, take a bath and be disinfected with gasoline, she refused.  Instead, Carmelita got off the streetcar and convinced 30 other female passengers to get off with her and demonstrate their opposition to this humiliating process.  By 8:30 a.m. more than 200 Mexican women had joined her and blocked all traffic into El Paso.  By noon, the press estimated their number as several thousand women and men.
    The Mexican housekeepers who revolted had good cause to be upset.  Inside a brick disinfectant building under the bridge, health personnel had been secretly photographing women in the nude and posting the snapshots in a local cantina. 
    These forced sterilizations were so severe upon the Mexican laborers that it led to a new problem for the United States, illegal immigration.  The Mexicans decided they didn’t want to subject themselves to this ridiculous process so they would cross over into the United States in remotes areas of the river or desert.  
    There were so many illegal crossings that the government created the short-lived Mounted Quarantine Guard in 1921.  They were in charge of monitoring the 150 mile long stretch of the Rio Grande on horseback and rounding up all undocumented Mexicans.  They were phased out in 1924, when the U.S. Border Patrol came into existence.
    Jim Fry pointed out that Zyklon B was also used by the Nazi’s in the gas chambers in their concentration camps.  David said there is a letter where Adolph Hitler specifically praised the El Paso method of fumigating Mexican immigrants with Zyklon B. 
    At the start of WWII, the Nazis adopted Zyklon B as a fumigation agent at German border crossings and concentration camps. Later, when the Final Solution was put into effect, the Germans found more sinister uses for this extremely lethal pesticide. They used Zyklon B pellets in their own gas chambers not just to kill lice but to exterminate millions of human beings. But that's another story.    
Lindsey Manley - CBC Creative

    We recently learned that LKM is the new CEO of CBC Creative. Say what? Linday K. Manley is the new owner of CBC Creative, a local full service advertising agency. They are located right here in Sherman, Texas, and do it all!
    Branding is one of the services CBC Creative has to offer. Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name. Brands are often expressed in the form of logos. It is a symbol that triggers a memory or thought in the consumer's mind about who you are and what you are about.
    CBC Creative has an entire team based around the execution of hand designed, in house developed, fully mobile friendly web design and development. The web is where 99.9% of consumers will first interact with your business so you definitely want to make a good first impression. CBC Creative works with clients to get them exactly what they want.
    They are fully engaged with video marketing. Videos are replacing ads everywhere. CBCwillhelpwithwebdisplays,TVcommercials,educationortraining.
    When it comes to advertising on TV, radio, social media or any other non-traditional venue you need an ad agency to help you because they have negotiating pull that can get your special discounts. CBC Creative helps your company make the decisions that make the most sense and then get them at a price to maximize the budget.
    CBC Creative is an Addy-Award winning agency. They can come up with an amazing design for any kind of marketing you desire. They design logos, websites, catalogs, magazines, signage, packaging, and a whole lot more. If you have an idea you want to promote or market but aren't sure what to do, give CBC Creative a call and they will take it from there.
    When you are ready to increase traffic to your business or perhaps market an incredible product that you have, CBC Creative can help you take your business to the next level. Plus, all of their marketing campaigns come with data and analytics, something many other digital advertising companies fear.
    CBC Creative worked with Sherman ISD on their Building Bearcats campaign. They worked with the new Emergency Center in Sherman from the very beginning to help them brand and market them-
selves. Most recently, you may have seen a copy of the new Chamber of Commerce magazine. That, too, is some of the creative work of CBC Creative.
    Their creative arsenal has experience working with everyone from Fortune 500 Companies to the small "Mom & Pop" shops.
    CBC Creative offers a full line of services to help you launch your brand and make it easy for your customers to find you everywhere! They are your creative solutions for your next big idea.

Lori Holcombe - KinCare
    Lori Holcombe, caregiver specialist for Texoma Council of Governments (TCOG), spoke on the services they provide.  She facilitates support for the Parkinson's groups, the Alzheimer's groups and the KinCare Program. 
    The KinCare program helps grandparents who are taking care of their grandchildren.  Lori noted that although it is a very difficult thing to do, the grandparents never complain.  She thanked the Grayson Rotary club for supporting the KinCare program over the years.  
    The 2000 Census identified nearly 4,000 grandparents in the Texoma area alone who have legal responsibility to raise their grandchildren. Numerous issues confront these grandparents who have become "parents again", including legal, medical, educational, financial and psycho-social concerns.  The GAP Caregiver Support Group meets on the 1st Tuesday of each month and offers volunteer support, peer and formal counseling, and educational programs to assist grandparents and great-grandparents to successfully address their needs.
    Many grandparents have expressed their appreciation for helping them throughout the year.  They are especially thankful for the back to school program (KinCare).  
    Becky Burtner pointed out that many of the grandparents live on a fixed income.  Imagine what it would be like to have grandkids brought over to live with them now and need school supplies and clothing.  This is where Grayson Rotary comes in.  Many times they don't even have enough money to take the kids to the doctor.
    Almost 26 million family caregivers provide care to adults (aged 18+) with a disability or chronic illness, and 5 million informal caregivers provide care for older adults aged 50+ with dementia. TCOG's Monthly Caregiver Support program offers a monthly support group, monthly newsletter and resource center offering information, counseling and material to teach about how to manage caregiver stress in positive ways.
Steven O'Day - Austin College President
    Steven O'Day shared his vision for the the future of Austin College.  He came from Lebanon Valley College which is about 40 minutes from Harrisburg, PA.  Prior to that he was at Franklin and Marshall College which is in his hometown of Lancaster, PA, which is about 70 miles west of Philadelphia.
    Mr. O'Day is now a resident of Sherman and Austin College's 16th president.  He proudly admitted that it feels like home.  
    However, before all of this, Steven was an attorney and practiced law for about ten years.  At that time the thought never crossed his mind that he would go into higher education.  He became involved in a non-traditional way. 
    One day there was a posting in the local newspaper that Franklin and Marshall College was looking for a head coach for their women's soccer team.  This caught Steven's attention because he had just finished playing professional soccer after a few years.  He added that it wasn't anything to get too excited about because "it didn't even cover gas money," but he can say he played professionally.
    One day, in the local newspaper, it was posted that Franklin and Marshall College was looking for a women's soccer coach.  His wife encouraged Steve to apply for the position.  He quickly replied she was crazy because he didn't have time to coach.  With a little more encouragement he decided to apply for the job.
    Mr. O'Day said the athletic director called his bluff and hired him even though he had no coaching experience.  Once that got him on a college campus he said he immediately fell in love being able to work with college students.  Because he enjoyed this experience so much he told the athletic director he would be interested in a full time position if anything ever became available.  
    Not thinking he would ever hear anything, about six months later he was informed the full-time pre-law advisor position would be opening up on campus.  Now it was time to decide whether he would leave the law profession and make a career change.  Upon making that decision he has never looked back and has worked his way up through the administrative ranks.  He became Dean while still coaching, then eventually vice president and now president of Austin College.
    Steven pointed out that a college in a community can be a little bit of a mystery to those who live in the area.  People drive by and know it's there.  They may have even been on campus at a sporting even or watching a performance and have a general idea of what's happening at the college, but you may not know the finer details of what they are trying to do.
    What is the value of a college education?  It is expensive.  Is it really worth it?  
    The mission statement of Austin College is to prepare students for rewarding careers and for full engaged, meaningful lives.  So what does that mean today?  The world is changing, the work world is changing.
    Mr. O'Day said that unlike his dad who worked for Bell Telephone for almost 40 years and had no other job, he is now on his fifth job since law school.  His son Ryan, who graduated college in 2014, is already on his third job.  "It's different now!", exclaimed O'Day.  
    Studies tell us that 95% of new jobs created since the great recession in 2008-2009, require college level education.  Additionally, it is known that those with a college degree earn on average, $2.8 million more than those without a degree.  That is proof why college is indeed very much worth it!
    It is known that employers prefer people who are critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, collaborators, clear communicators and are adaptive.  We also know that the U.S. Department of Labor shows people will experience 10 to 14 jobs by age 38.  The world is different!         
    Looking forward, the vast majority of the jobs that will exist, 10, 15, 20 years from now, don't even exist yet.  Because of this trend, Austin College is not only preparing it's students for their ever so important first job, but they are also preparing them for their fifth, seventh, fourteenth job.  
    Austin College is also a business, but not in the traditional sense.  They are not here to make a profit.  They have a shared governing system which is a blend of governance among many constituencies including the board of trustees, the faculty, administration and the students, all of whom have some degree of voice in how the college works. 
    They function like a business in a lot of ways.  They have balance sheets, expense statements and budgets that need to be balanced.  They also have an impact on the local community.  They employ 359 full-time employees.  Their annual payroll is approximately $24 million.  The college pays over $20 million a year directly to local vendors.  Students and visitors bring in $7 million a year.  Their summer conferences bring in around $500,000 a year.  Core expenditures  equal about $40 million a year.  
    Austin College isn't just dollars.  They are very engaged in the community as well with many non-profit organizations.  The Austin College alumni also has a huge impact on the community.  Austin College students volunteer in excess of 16,000 hours each year.  
    On one last note in regards to those jobs that don't exist yet, Mr. O'Day asked who would've imagined twenty year ago that Sherman, Texas, would become the largest producer of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers?
    Austin College's future is bright!  Grayson County's future is bright!  Working together makes is even better!
John Rossfeld - Wilson N Jones CEO
    John Rossfeld came to Sherman about a year ago.  He is the Interim Chief Executive Officer for Wilson N Jones Regional Hospital.  
    Fate may have something to say about the interim part of his title though.  One of his sons has a dog named Sherman.  Better yet, their new grandson's name is Grayson.
    WNJ acquired by Aletco Healthcare out of southern California, in December 2014.  They own five other hospitals; two in California, two in West Virginia and one in Ohio.
    The emergency department at WNJ is a very busy one.  They have been exceptionally busy lately due to many patients having the flu.  They have made special provisions for patients with flu-like symptoms so they may be treated quickly.  
    WNJ is a Level III Trauma Center.  Just this past year, they brought in a new emergency department physician group who is very good.  The medical director in one of only fifty physicians who has done a fellowship in Emergency Medical Serivces (EMS) which relates to the transport of a patient.  Some of the elements of a Level III Trauma Center include: 24-hour immediate coverage by Emergency Medicine Physicians, quick availability of specialty physicians and surgeons and specially trained trauma nurses.
    They are a designated Stroke Center and have been for several years.  John emphasized that when it comes to a stroke you need to go to the nearest hospital because time is everything.
    The hospital has recently implemented a program they call "In Quicker."  This allows patients to check-in online for the emergency department.  By collecting some information ahead of time it cuts down on the wait time at the ER.  An interesting demographic shows the average age of those using the "In Quicker" check-in system is 23.
    WNJ has had a Wound Care center but just recently joined with Restorix Health and added HBO.  No, not the TV show, but equipment to offer Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy.  For most people, wounds heal relatively quickly and easily.  For others, wound healing is a complex medical problem requiring specialized care.  Staff at the HBO and Wound Care Center work in partnership with patients to develop a treatment plan to help speed the healing process.
    The maternity unit has been renovated so it resembles one's home more.  It is a larger room which allows more space for family members.  A mother may also stay in her room the whole time.  She can go through the delivery process without ever leaving the room. 
    Behavioral Health Services is a 12 bed unit located on the fourth floor of the hospital.  It features a variety of clinical and therapeutic approaches to help create a positive and hopeful outlook for the future of adults facing a behavioral disorder.  The Adult Program provides patients with ways to successfully cope with life’s challenges and facilitate recovery.  The Senior Program serves patients 65 years of age and older who are experiencing emotional problems.
     John noted that in addition to providing health care services they are very involved with several organizations in the community.  They are also working with Grayson College to put a clinic on the campus to serve students and staff.  This should be available sometime in March.
    John and his wife of 42 years have five children, eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  John was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, before moving to California.  He also understands all the good Rotary does.  He was a charter president of a Rotary club in southern California.
Dr. Jeremy McMillen - Grayson College's Future
    There are a lot of changes taking place on the Grayson College campus.  Dr. Jeremy McMillen spoke about the future of Grayson College.
    “Our future has everything to do with how we envision it,” expressed Dr. McMillen.  He added, “No matter what you think about where we are today, tomorrow is how we envision what we want it to be.”  He even signs every email with the “Onward” to keep everyone’s mind focused on the future.
    The strategic goals of the college are “Connect, Commit, Complete.”  They want to make sure the students are connected to the college enabling them to explore what they want to do and to finish what they’ve already started.  Being a Pathways College they want the students to connect to their career path as quickly as possible.  Just going to a junior college to get a few courses out of the way isn’t really a commitment.  Grayson strives to help each student plan for what they want to do after college.  They want to help each student complete their dream of either transferring to a university to complete a degree or even launch their career.  
    On average, it takes a student 86 hours to get their 60 hour college degree.  Many of the students who have extra hours over what it takes to graduate are nursing students and they will have more hours.  Although the 86 hour average is lower than the 93 hour state average, Grayson is working to help students take only courses that are in line with those needed for their degree.
    Most recently, the Board of Directors approved bringing back the men’s and women’s basketball programs.  The main reason they stopped basketball at Grayson was the lack of rooms to house the athletes.  They will have a new dorm ready in August.  Other programs being be added at Grayson are athletic training, pep band and cheerleading.
    The are going ot continue with the STEM Scholarships for those interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  This has been funded at the state level but since that is going away they will seek local support.  Dr.McMillen said they have seen more students enrolling in their engineering and advanced math classes and the STEM scholarship has been very beneficial.
    They recently broke ground on the Student Success Center.  It is located next the the administration building.  Their student testing facilities and math labs will be housed in the new Student Success Center.  
    They are expanding the Viticulture and Enology program.  As a result, they will be able to make brandy out of wine.
    They will soon have an advanced manufacturing program.  
    If everything goes as planned Grayon will offer a Bachelors of Science in Nursing.  They are well known for their Nursing program and will now step it up a notch.  They hope to be able to offer a B.S. degree in Nursing starting in the fall of 2019.
    All of these projects are being paid for with money the college aleady has.  When they are all said and done, Grayson will still have more money in their reserves than most community colleges in the state of Texas.
    Grayson is also proactive in keeping their current facilies properly maintained.  This will keep them from having to deal with unforseen issues down the road.
    Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  After hearing Dr. McMillen talk about the future of Grayson College, it is evident they are doing their fair share of changing the world. 
Dianne Helms - District Director, Senator Craig Estes
    Dianne Helms, District Director, shared information on District 30 and updated us on the last session for Texas Senator Craig Estes,  Senator Estes’s wife fell and broke her elbow so he went home to take care of her.  
    District 30 covers 14 counties in North Texas.  District 30 goes west to Wichita County and east to Grayson County.  It takes in portions of Collin and Denton Counties and goes as far south as Erath County around Stephenville.
    Senator Estes serves as chair of the Natural Resources & Economic Development committee.  Dianne said Texas is very competitive when it comes to economic development and pointed out that Sherman is doing a lot of great things as well.
    During the last Senate session a bill was passed for funding to provide bullet proof vests for all First Responders.  An addiitonal $563 million was provided for public education on top of the already $59.9 billion education budget.  More money was provided for dyslexia and austism grants.  $696 million was awarded for the TRS-Care program which provides health benefits for retired public education emplyees and their dependents.  The TRS-Care program is still going to require some attention during the next session.  $800 million was approved for border security.
    The Graduate Medical Education Expansion Grant was almost doubled during the last session.  This was done in hopes of keeping our medical residents in Texas, and encouraging them to remain in Texas.
    Dianne noted that although more money was awarded for mental health care, it wasn’t nearly enough.  She added that many of our mental health citizens wind up in jail instead of a mental health facility.  It cost about $70 a day to care for a prisoner in jail, but when they have mental health issues that total doubles to $140 a day.  But most importantly, they aren’t treated properly.  The state foster care system was reformed and second amendment rights were strengthened.  
    For more information you can check out the Texas Legislature Online at  You can even watch them when they are in session.
Mike Nix - The Rotary Foundation
    Our last program actually got its start in 1917 at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, when outgoing Rotary’s sixth president setting up an endowment  “for the purpoase of doing good in the world.”  That one idea, and an initial contribution of $26.50 by the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Missouri, set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the world.
    That fund has become one of the world’s leading humanitarian foundations.  The Rotary Foundation was named the World’s Outstanding Foundation in 2016.  During the past 100 years, the Foundation has spent $3 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.
    Mike Nix, Grayson Rotary’s Foundation Chair and Paul Harris Fellow (PHF5+) gave us a better insight on what our money can do.  He took an empty glass and had several Rotarians pour just a little of their safe, clean water into his glass so he could help his children.  With several Rotarians giving just a little, Mike’s glass of safe, clean water was filled, while each of the Rotarians’ glasses still had plenty of water for themselves.  He was just symbolizing how giving a little by all of us can make a huge impact on those who need our help.
    The Foundation has two funds.  One is for PolioPlus.  The Bill Gates Foundation is helping by matching Rotary Funds 2-1.  Since 1985, Rotary has reduced the number of Polio cases in the world by 99.9%.  There were only 22 new reported cases in 2017.  The three endemic countries are Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
    Money given to the Foundation’s Annual Fund will be invested for three years before being distributed.  Profits from those investments are used to pay for administrative expenses.  After three years half of the money will go to the Foundation’s World Fund to help their six causes:  Promoting Peace, Providing Clean Water, Saving Mothers and Children, Supporting Education, Growing Local Economies and Fighting Diseases.  The other half is returned back to the contributing Rotary District to be used for local projects.
    The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.  Your donation makes a difference to those who need our help most.  More than 90% of donations go directly to supporting our service projects around the world.
    There are several ways to give to The Rotary Foundation.  You can give directly to the Foundation, have drafts set up on your credit card, leave money or securities in your will or make The Foundation of beneficiary of a life insurance policy.  
    You can also get a Rotary credit card and each time you use your card a percentage of the card’s fees is donated to Rotary.  Since 2000, $8.6 million has been given by Rotarians using the Rotary credit card.
    You become a sustaining member by giving $100 a year.  Once you reach the $1,000 giving level you will be recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF). You will be recognized for each additional $1,000 you give.  You will recognized as a major donor once you have donated $10,000.  
    You will become a Paul Harris Society member if you give $1,000 annually ($83.33 per month).  An Arch Klumpf Society member is someone who has given at least $250,000 over any period of time.
    You have until January 31, 2018, to get a your contribution matched with up to 500 PHF points.  You receive 1 point for each dollar you contribute.  This is a great time to become a PHF or step up to the next level.  See Mike Nike or Terry Everett for more information.
The Gold Standard -  The Avards & Campbells
         Being a Grayson Rotarian, you represent the "Gold Standard."  Thank You!  
      Thank you for supporting the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP)!  In fact, the generous support of you and the club over the past eleven years has sent over $27,000 in support to the children of Guatemala.  
    Drs. Steve & Bonnie Avard and Dr. Larry and Sandy Campbell know the "Gold Standard" very well!  They have made the trip to Guatemala and personally delivered books to the children.
    The Guatemala Literacy Project is a network of individual Rotarians, Rotary clubs and districts, and the nonprofit organization Cooperative for Education (CoEd) with a common interest in improving education for underserved students in Guatemala. It is one of the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district projects in Rotary, with over 500 participating clubs throughout its 20-year history.
    After visiting the Education Center in Guatemala last summer, Ian Riseley, Rotary International president said, “The GLP is very well regarded in Rotary far beyond the borders of this one country. You have involved the parents and teachers in your project, worked with an exemplary organization in CoEd, and negotiated with all levels of government, which is often very hard. If you want to look for a project that meets the characteristics of Rotary, the GLP is the gold standard.”
    A video from a previous trip showed the excitement and gratitude of everyone involved, from the children to the parents to the teachers and especially the Rotarians.  We heard from Rotarians representing different clubs across the U.S.  There were many who make the trip every year.  But most convincingly, are the smiles of the children!!!
    In addition to the video, one of the photos taken at the headquarters showed the "Wall of Honor" which has The Rotary Club of Grayson County Texas inscribed.  The Wall of Honor displays all of the Rotary Clubs who have given to the program. 
    Sandy Campbell pointed out that when they did travel while Larry had his dental practice it had to be a special place.  Their trip to the Western Highlands of Guatemala was just that!  "Every trip is unique, but you will never find anything like we did in Guatemala," Sandy claimed.  You are delivering the books the the excitement is amazing!  She added that although they send a translator along, you don't need one, because the smiles tell it all.  
    Sandy highly recommends that if you ever get the chance to go on the Guatemala trip that you do so.  It is a very positive experience.  It is the one trip they came back from in which they felt they really did something for someone else.
    Dr. Campbell shared his gratitude of the things our club supports.  Of all the charities, this is one of the few where we can go and see what is going on.  He added that 100% of our money goes into the project.  
    These children have never owned a book.  In fact, many classrooms only have one book per class, not student.  These books are considered the most valuable thing in the house.  Steve passed around a couple books that had been used for seven years and they wer so well taken care of they looked almost like new.
    In addition to books, other supplies are taken as well.  Larry said they had different assignments each day.  One day they may also pass out athletic supplies.  Another day they pass out pencils.  Although pencils don't sound like much, well, they are a big prize over there.  
    Larry said that not only are these trips a lot of fun and you learn what your club does.  It really makes you appreciate all of the things we are doing.
Dr. Judy Cook - Destigmatizing Mental Health
    “Stigma:  A True Weapon Of Mass Destructio.” This is how Dr. Judy Cook labeled her presentation.  
    Less than 12,000 people died from ebola in 2014, although with all the publicity you would have thought millions had died.  In that same year, two million people died from suicide, 40,000 in this country.
    This year has been one of our worst ever hurricane seasons with three major hurricanes.  There have been less than 1,000 deaths recorded due to those three major hurricanes.  The damage ranges anywhere from $50 to $250 billion per hurricane, and yet in this country alone in 2016, about 100,000 Americans died from either suicide or accidental drug overdoses.
    It costs about $200 billion annually just for the medical care of mental illness and another $20 billion plus in lost wages.  It also impairs the function of businesses and increases the cost of law enforcement.  As you can see, mental illness in this country kills a lot more people and costs a lot more money than any major hurricane.  
    Dr. Cook said that in her forty years of practice she has never seen “just an alcoholic”, “just a drug addict.”  Underneath the addictions, there has always been big wallop of emotional pain.  Sometimes it was just too dadgum much pain to bring up.  Sometimes they just put an end to it.
    About 25% of the problems we have with cancer, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, diabetes, etc., is caused or made worse by emotional problems.  With all of these problems we should spend more money for mental health research.  Annually we spend $1 billion on diabetes, $1.2 billion on heart disease, $5.7 billion on cancer, but only $400 million for emotional problems.  
    The problem is we stigmatize mental health and we stigmatize emotions.  We can talk just about anything except our feelings.  We have been doing this for centuries.  All the way back to biblical times when someone was considered mentally ill, they were recognized as being demon possessed, monsters, a blight on the face of humanity.  That still continues today as we minimize, demonize and stigmatize our feelings along with any problems that go with it.
    Dr. Cook admitted there was a lot of bias while she was in medical school.  It was very  oriented toward psychiatry.  It was when she went into pathology that she realized the connection between mental pain and physical pain.  
    During her medical residency in the 70s, Dr. Cook said they could still use placebos.  Not only did placebos work, they were cheap and didn’t have any side effects.
    There are a few exceptions, but for the most part the placebos worked almost as well and the medication.  People don’t get better by themselves. If they aren’t getting therapy, they are not healing the underlying problem.
    In real medicine, the main focus is prevention.  Vaccinations have been very effective in preventing many diseases.
    Emotional pain can wear on you and drag you down.  If you hide behind the shame of your emotions and not talk about it, you could die with your brain tumor or your diabetes or your thyroid problem unneccesarily.  That is reason enough to start looking at your feelings.
Gail Utter - Behavioral Health
    Gail Utter spoke on a subject that we all don’t like to talk about.  It is sort of taboo in a way.  We talk about all of the different physical illnesses but when it comes to mental health, we are afraid to talk about it.  Nine out of ten people say it is easier to talk about a physical illness compare to a mental illness.  
    Gail has been very instrumental in organizing a Behavioral Health Leadership Team.  The goal is to bring together all of the decision makers in Grayson County and getting them to understand the issues, to understand the benefits of developing a systematic approach so that all of the parties are communicating with each other.  
    Texas has the lowest funding per capita for mental health treatment.  This shortfall leads to $193 billion in lost wages annually and this doesn’t even touch the lost productivity.  
    Gail pointed out that mental illness of some form can strike at any time.  There isn’t any specific demographic.  Mental illness can affect any age, race, gender or socioeconomic standing.  There are no boundaries.  
    Mental Illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood.  Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.  Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.
    A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event.  Research suggests multiple, linking causes.  Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition.  A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role as well.  Depression is the largest cause of disability in the world.
    Seventy-six percent of those responding to a National Alliance of Mental Illness survey said they knew someone that had a mental illness.  One in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year. One in seventeen lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.  
    Half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. The normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition.  Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.
    The second annual Dr. Don Rodgers Memorial Community Behavioral Health Conference will be held Friday, February 16, 2018, at the Hilton Garden Inn.  They have two great speakers lined up.
    Last year, Tommy Nelson, senior pastor of the Denton Bible Church told the story of his recovery from a burnout that left him physically and mentally exhausted to the point he had to seek both physical and mental health intervention.  He said battling a mental illness doesn’t mean one can’t be productive and successful.  
    Eric Nadel, voice of the Texas Rangers radio broadcast, talked about losing his friend Rusty Rose to a long fought battle with depression.
    In addtion to a person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.
Britton Brooks - Jury Duty
    Britton Brooks, Grayson County assistant district attorney, shared some behind the scenes information about Jury Duty.  He explained what really happens behind the scenes during the jury selection process.  
    Between 60 and 100 possible jurors are seated at random for a felony or criminal trial.  The state attorney and defense attorney each get approximately one hour to speak.  Each side may strike up to 10 jurors for any reason they want with the exception of race and gender.
    As you enter the courtroom you may notice the attorneys are watching.  They pay attention to your appearance and how you are dressed.  They will usually ask if you have ever served on a jury before.  Depending on the circumstances this could be a good thing or a not so good thing.  The attorneys will usually ask what you do for a living.  Special attention is given to engineers, teachers, law enforcement and those in the medical field.  They will also ask if you know any of the lawyers.
    In addition to that, both sides have unlimited challenges for cause.  Most questions involve two issues:  Can you be fair and can you follow the law?  From the state's side, their job is to teach the jury the law, attempt to be likable and to protect jurors they think will be best for their cause.  
    The lawyers will want to know your opinion on four critical issues.  They will want to know if there is anyone in your family on the police force.  If you do, they will want to make sure that you don't hold them more accountable than anyone else.  
    They will want to know if you are okay with the defendant's right to remain silent.  You can't hold a defendant's right to remain silent against them.  
    Will you hold a bias toward someone because you have been the victim of a crime or maybe because the defendant has s criminal history.  Can you give the State and the Defendant a fair trial?  If you hate the crime that is being tried will you still be able to give a fair trial?  
    Will you be able to consider the full range of punishment?  This can be tough when you have to make a decision in a trial where there is child abuse, or sex abuse, or even a murder trial.  Would you be able to consider probation?  Would you be able to consider the minimum five year imprisonment time to life in prison in a murder trial?
    Once all of the questioning is done through the voir dire process, the first twelve that remain of the 60 to 100 potential jurors will now serve on the jury.  
Rudy Reynoso - A Morning Of Magic
    Now you see it, now you don’t!  This phrase applies to Rudy Reynoso in many ways.  
    A little over a year ago Rudy hired on at the Hilton Inn to run the front desk.  A little over a year later he has worked his way up to sales manager.
    Rudy was born and raised in Sherman, Texas.  His family moved to Sherman many years ago from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, to begin a new life. His uncle and aunt moved her as well. Rudy is the oldest of three boys.  His younger brothers attend the University of North Texas.
    While attending Sherman High School Rudy was president of his class during his Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.  He was also president the (Rotary sponsored) Interact Club at Sherman High School.  
    While attending the UNT, he became the first Latino student body president during his sophomore year going into his junior year.  During his senior year, he was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to represent the school system at the state level.
    After college, Rudy spent three months in the seminary. He traveled to Bogota, Colombia, and said it is one of the most humbling experiences he has ever had.
    When he returned to Sherman from Colombia, Rudy helped his dad prepare taxes.  His father, Rodolfo, has prepared taxes for over twenty years.  After a couple months, he started working at the Hilton Garden Inn in Denison.
    A few months ago, Rudy had the opportunity to visit China.  He said it was very eye opening to witness the eastern perspective of the world.  Rudy is now back in Sherman and ready to give back to the community.  
     One of Rudy’s many talents is that of a magician.  He definitely wowed everyone with many fascinating card tricks.
    Rudy became interested in magic at the age of seven when his father gave him a magic kit.  When he was twelve he saw David Blaine on TV with his close-up magic.  He had only seen David Copperfielld before that.  Rudy was very impressed with Blaine’s close-up, more personal style of magic.  It was at this point Rudy became very interested in learning the ins and outs of magic.  He has continued to study magic and even work on new ways to perform tricks.
Josh Stevenson - The Literacy Keyhole
    Josh Stevenson is the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager for the Grayson County Health Department.  Aside from his county job, he is hoping to also be more involved with the city.  He is running for City Council against Commie O. Linson.
    However, Josh talked about literacy in lieu of a campaign speech.  This was perfect for a club that focuses on literacy.  A friend of his and Midland Junior teacher John Wilkes had shared some very interesting facts in regards to literacy.  
    When scientists are tracking an asteroid in space and worried about whether or not it is going to hit earth, they look for it to pass through an area known as a keyhole.  If the asteroid misses this "keyhole", then rest assured the it isn't going to hit the earth.  On the other hand, if the asteroid passes through this keyhole then there's a very good chance it IS going to hit earth.   
    Josh explained the correlation of the "keyhole" in space to the literacy "keyhole" that affects kids.  There is a very critical "keyhole" that everyone passes through.  That keyhole is when a child is eight-years-old.  All the standardized testing over the years has proven the importance of this keyhole.  If a child passes through this keyhole they are twice as likely to go to college.  If they fail to go through this keyhole they are four times as likely to drop out of high school which means they are thirteen times more likely to end up in prison.  
    If a child reads at grade level when they are eight years old they will pass through this literacy keyhole and be on their way to bigger and better things.  If they miss this keyhole, statistics tell us they are far more likely to drop out of high school and if they drop out of high school they are much more likely to end up in prison.
    Josh pointed out that forty-one percent of all inmates are illiterate.  Studies by the American Education Research Association, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the University of Minnesota all show that a kid is learning to read up to the age of eight, then after that they are all reading to learn.
    If a child misses that keyhole school districts will spend a lot of money and time trying to get them back on track.  Unfortunately, the best success rates are only about 30%.  The best way to correct this is to make sure kids don't miss that critical keyhole in the first case. 
    Josh said the best thing people can do for their community is to make sure all kids learn how to read.  He said he has been asked a lot lately on how we can make our community better without raising taxes.  Simply, make sure we teach our kids to read.  This will result in better educated, better qualified, better citizens for our community.
    Early childhood literacy is the most critical factor in determining the rest of a child's life.  We have everything that we need to make this happen.
    Shocking statistics show that a kid that can't read on a third grade level is four times more likely to drop out of school than those who can.  Those living in poverty increase to 13 times more likely to drop out of school.  
    Josh said we must make the commitment of making sure we do everything possible to teach all the kids in Sherman how to read at grade level by the age of eight.  He said it isn't impossible, we just need to put in the effort.  Josh is willing to work with anyone that wants to help.
Bob Rhoden - Four River Oureach
    Bob Rhoden, executive director of Four Rivers Outreach, expressed his appreciation for what Rotary has done.  In 2008, Bob was very involved in putting together a grant to be awarded to only one organization in North Texas by Rotary District 5810.  His efforts helped secure the $100,000 grant that helped kick start Four Rivers.
    Although they seem to be in a never ending remodeling project, the facility continues to grow.  They have doubled their bed capacity from eight to sixteen over the past two years.  Bob was quick to point out that it wasn't because of him, but the efforts of Arthur and Jeannie Horn (previous executive director) and the local Rotary Clubs.  
    They have had a 54% graduation success rate.  That's quite an accomplishment considering it is a one year program to serve men who are trying to put their lives back together.  They have graduated three men so far this year with another one graduating soon.
    One of the things they do to help the men is provide opportunities for them to go out and make some extra money.  Many of the men have court costs or child support payments to make.  Four Rivers doesn't make payments for them but will help them manage their money.  They want to make sure the men keep current on their financial obligations.
    For those who have lost their driver's license, they have have huge fees to pay in order to get their license back.  Thanks to the State of Texas, there is an "Imaging" program that helps reduce some of the fees for those who qualify.  
    There are goals for the men who come to Four Rivers looking to get their life back in order.  They should be employed full time, have their driver's license, reliable transportation, auto insurance, a safe place to live, a balanced budget and at least $500 in an emergency fund.  
    Four Rivers Outreach is a faith-based organization providing programs for men and women who have life-controlling issues including substance abuse and homelessness.  Programs include Life Skill Classes, GED and Adult Literacy programs, Job Skills programs, Job Placement, 12-Step Spiritual Study Classes and many other opportunities to assist with recovery.  Housing is only available to men at this time.
Dr. David Hicks - Sherman ISD School Bond
    Dr. David Hicks, Sherman I.S.D. Superintendent and fellow Rotarian, spoke on the upcoming school bond issue.  He shared the facts supporting why the community should consider voting for the $176 million bond proposal.
    A seventy plus member Citizens Advisory Committee, including parents, staff, business leaders and community advocates spent nine months studying and discussing the most urgent needs of the school district.  The bond calls for upgrading the technology infrastructure, building a new Sherman High School on a new site, converting Sherman High School and Piner Middle School into two middle schools, grades 6-8, and reconfigure the elementary schools to grades K-5.
    Technology is the future.  Sherman students deserve having access to information and the teachers deserve the ability to design technology rich lessons.  It's been twelve years since the last technology upgrades.  Sherman students and teachers deserve better than that.  Technology is our future.
    The only feasible solution to address the overcrowding of Sherman High School is to build a new school at a different location.  Currently, there are 1,909 students enrolled.  The current high school has a capacity for 1,400 students.  Enrollment at the high school has increased 6.8% since last year.  Add the fact that Sherman I.S.D. has grown by about 1,000 students in the past 10 years and is projected to grow another 1,000 students in the next 10 years and that equals a very serious overcrowding issues that only gets worse.  
    The new Sherman High School would be built on a new site located at FM 1417 and OB Groner Road.  This site was selected to align with growth projections and building plans adopted by the city of Sherman.  Sherman and TXDOT have plans to improve FM 1417 and OB Groner making them key thoroughfares, connecting neighborhoods across our city and providing a high degree of visibility for the new high school.
    The new 450,000+ s.f. high school will have a 2,300 student base capacity with the flexibility to accommodate up to 2,600 students.  It will be equipped with the latest security and safety features to comply with the new state safety requirements.  This will include a portion of the high school being reinforced to house all students and staff in the event of a weather emergency.
    There will be new career, technology and science labs offering more advanced courses in manufacturing, engineering, health sciences, building trades and more.  It will have new fine arts facilities including larger practice and performance spaces for band, choir, theater arts and orchestra.  New tennis courts and athletic fields for all sports along with a track that will allow Sherman to host competitive meets again. There will also be a multi-purpose, indoor athletic training field.  It will take 3 1/2 years to complete.
    So here's the Sherman vs. Denison facts.  The beautiful Denison High School was built in 2012.  In today's dollars, the construction alone would cost $80.6 million and that doesn't include everything Sherman will have.  Sherman High School will likely bid today at $113 million.  The biggest difference between Sherman High School and Denison High School is the size.  The overall project cost is $157 million.  The $44 million difference is the cost of engineering, design, land, surveys, fixtures, furnishings, equipment, technology and inflation.
    The major difference between Denison High built in 2012 and Sherman High built in 2018, is largely construction inflation which has increased 44% with another 6% increase next year.  Sherman I.S.D. has 2,875 more students than Denison including 600 more in the high school.  Denison was built for 1,600 students compared to Sherman being built for 2,300 students, 44% more.  Denison High School as about 320,000 square feet.  Sherman will have 453,338 square feet which is 41% more space. 
    The current high school will be converted into a second middle school.  The old HVAC/Energy Management System will be completely updated.  Piner and the converted high school will then house two middle schools with grades 6-8.  The Elementary Schools will be reconfigured to grades K-5.  This will reduce the number of building transitions for the students.  This will result in extending the life of these buildings as well as meeting the growth of the middle and elementary schools.
    A bond is necessary to meet these needs.  So what does this mean to property owners?  It will equate to $17.42 / month or $210 a year per $100,000 of assessed value.  Property taxes for citizens age 65 or older, with a home exemption, will not see any increase.
    Early voting is October 23 to November 3.  Election day is November 7, 2017.  For more information,
Sara Tarvin - Children's Express
    Although Sara Tarvin has been retired from teaching going on three years now she still has a passion to help children. That comes from 36 years of teaching.  WIth that, she has become very involved with Children’s Express.  
    In 2012, a group got together to try to come up with a solution to feed the hungry children of Sherman, Texas.  Children’s Express is a program that functions under Grand Central Station’s umbrella.  It began in 2013, as a program to feed children during the summer months, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break holidays, to ensure that children in Grayson County do not go hungry.
    The started with Jefferson Elementary with an enrollment of about 250 kids.  That first year they fed about 200 kids.  The following year they added Washington Elementary and in 2015, began serving six of the elementary schools in Sherman.  Another group helps feed children at the other two elementary schools.
    Sara said board members began hearing stories from teachers about children having lunch at school on Friday and then returning on Monday not having anything to eat over the weekend. 
    They put the minds together and came up with a solution on feeding children over the weekends as well.  Even more impressive is how they are able to do so for only $3 per child opposed to the $5 cost they were told to plan for.
    In February 2016, they began feeding 120 children at Washington and Crutchfield with their Backpack Food Program.  By the of Spring Break 2016, they were feeding 240 children.  They continued adding the other elementary schools and by the end of the school year they were feeding over 420 children.  They are now up to 500 children this year.  
    The Backpack Food Program is one of Children’s Express’ major initiatives to ensure that chronically hungry children in need have balanced, nutritious food they need to learn and grow. Backpacks are stocked with nutritious, child-friendly, easy-to-prepare food and distributed to children on the last day before the weekend. GCS provides food storage space, and numerous volunteers give of their time weekly to help stock shelves, pick up donated food from various businesses and churches, purchase food, assemble bags, and transport filled bags to schools to be distributed discretely to children’s backpacks. The identities of the students who participate in the Backpack Food Program are always kept confidential; adhering to this policy ensures that no student is identified for any reason.             
    The goal is to ensure that children in our area do not go hungry. A bag of healthy food is distributed to children on a weekly basis during the summer months and as needed when school is not in session. Children targeted are those on the free or reduced lunch program in our schools.
    Their biggest purchases locally include canned chicken, canned fruit, bread and/or tortillas. They give out fresh fruit and vegetables as they become available from the North Texas Food Bank.
    Sara said they are very thankful of all the donations.  She added that although food donations are much appreciated, they are able to do more with cash donations as they are to buy food at a much reduced cost through the North Texas Food Bank.
Dr. Chase Machen - Pathways At Grayson College
    Dr. Chase Machen, Dean of Academic Studies at Grayson College, spoke on the future of colleges.  The new buzzword in the academic world is “Pathways.”  Dr. Machen noted that it is going to be unique to each college that engages in Pathways’ work.
    The visionaries of Grayson College had already put the process into action several years ago.  They were already looking at what they could do to ensure their students have a sequence of courses that would have the greatest possible success scenario in place for each student.  They wanted to create courses in programatic details that allows students to gain confidence as they progress through their program of study in hopes they don’t fall out so that they may retain the students.
    Dr. Machen said they looked at a lot of data but what caught their attention was that often overlooked by a lot of colleges.  That is the time to degree and accumulated credit hours.  For example, in 2014, Grayson College had an average time to degree for a two-year degree of 4.6 years and an average accumulation of credits for a 60 hour degree of 92 hours which is about the state average for a community college.  When you bring that up to a 4 year level it is almost the same percentages.
    Chase emphasized they were committed to do what was necessary to reduce those numbers for their students even if it meant having a negative budgetary impact.  So they began investigating what they could do and how could they do it.  They began researching Pathways.
    Dr. Machen pointed out there are three elements that must be performed at any institution that is serious about this.  They must provide clear roadmaps for students so when students start college they know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and how they can get in and get out quickly and cheaply and staying with that student from point A to point B.  Provide strong on ramps for students out of high school. Working with workforce to bring in students that have skills and giving them credits for those skills and the same goes with adult education.  There must also be a robust advising process.
    Pathways has literally changed everything at Grayson College.  The main goal of these Pathways is to group students within like-minded fields of study and then over the course of time the undecided students will get advised by faculty peers and advisors to help them make good career choices.
    Grayson College has also revised their strategic plan to align with their Pathway work.  Beginning this year, their strategic plan is “Pathway to 2020.”
    The goal of Grayson College is to have 2,020 completers by the year 2020.  Their goal is “2020 X 2020.”  This would represent a 50% increase in completions.  
    In the summer of 2016, Grayson College sought and received membership into the Texas Pathways Association.  They are one of only eleven colleges in the state of Texas, selected to engage in the Pathways work and teach it to all the other colleges.
    Among the many improved changes at Grayson College they have chosen to go to an 8-week schedule in the fall of 2018.  This will require a complete overhaul on how the college operates.
    On top of all that, they have to ensure that the programtic studies they are putting their students in lead to employment and not just a degree to hang on the wall.
    In order to meet their strategic plan Grayson College must adhere to three principles:  Connect, Commit and Complete.  They must transform lives by connecting students to the college and career pathways.  They must build a community by inspiring student commitment and momentum toward timely achievement of pathway milestones.  They must also inspire pathway completion that launches successful career entry, career enhancement, or university transfer.
    Great things are happening at Grayson College and we are ALL going to benefit as a result.  Learn more at
Joe Hardt - Conscious Capitalism
    Joe Hardt, CEO of Presco Polymers, has the heart of a Rotarian.  In fact, he is a third generation Rotarian and past president of the Dallas Rotary Club.  
    Presco was founded in 1943, in Dallas.  They moved to Sherman in 1989.   
    Presco was owned by the McMackin family for 70 years.  In 1989, they decided to relocate.  Sherman Economic Development (SEDCO) made them an offer they couldn’t refuse with a building at 301 Montomgery.  Since then, they have purchased the building at 1201 E. Pecan and operate out of both facilities.  They are essentially a plastics manufacturer.  Products include marking flags, caution tape, barricade tape, iMax screens, tents, awnings, and much more.
    Joe was an attorney representing Presco in the early eighties, so he knew the McMackin family well.  Joe left his law practice in 1993 to go to work in the electronics industry.  In 2001, he was out of a job. Waymon McMackin, Presco owner, asked Joe to come to work for him.  In 2003, Joe made a minority investment in the company.  
     In a three week period in July 2015, everything changed.  The president of Presco was recruited away and then on July 27th Waymon died.  With a succession plan in place Joe became the owner of Presco.
    Joe spoke about the book Concious Capitalism.  It is written by Whole Foods owner John Mackey.  He says concious capitalism refers to businesses  that serve the interests of all major stakeholders, customers, employees, investors, communities, suppliers, and the environment.  
    There are four principles of Conscious Capitalism.  1. Higher Purpose:  While making money is essential for the vitality and sustainability of a business, it is not the only or even the most important reason a business exists. Conscious businesses focus on their purpose beyond profit.  
    We all need meaning and purpose in our lives. It is one of the things that separates us from other animals. Purpose activates us and motivates us. It moves us to get up in the morning, sustains us when times get tough and serves as a guiding star when we stray off course. Conscious Businesses provide us with this sense of meaning and purpose.  
    By focusing on its deeper Purpose, a conscious business inspires, engages and energizes its stakeholders. Employees, customers and others trust and even love companies that have an inspiring purpose.
    2. Stakeholder Orientation:  Unlike some businesses that believe they only exist to maximize return on investment for their shareholders, Conscious Businesses focus on their whole business ecosystem, creating and optimizing value for all of their stakeholders, understanding that strong and engaged stakeholders lead to a healthy, sustainable, resilient business.
    They recognize that, without employees, customers, suppliers, funders, supportive communities and a life-sustaining ecosystem, there is no business. Conscious Business is a win-win-win proposition, which includes a healthy return to shareholders.
    3. Conscious Leadership:  Conscious Leaders focus on “we,” rather than “me.” They inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them.
    They understand that their role is to serve the purpose of the organization, to support the people within the organization and to create value for the all of the organization’s stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate a Conscious Culture of trust and care.
    4, Conscious Culture:  Culture is the embodied values, principles and practices underlying the social fabric of a business, which permeate its actions and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the company’s purpose, people and processes.
    A Conscious Culture fosters love and care and builds trust between a company’s team members and its other stakeholders. Conscious Culture is an energizing and unifying force, that truly brings a Conscious Business to life.
Hannah Sanza -  Camp RYLA
    Hannah Sanza is a senior at Texoma Christian School.  She was selected to attend Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) this past August.  Paige Pough was the club’s other participant but she was unable to make it last week due to a medical emergency.
    Hannah was very thankful for the opportunity to attend Camp RYLA.  Hannah said it wasn’t anything like she expected at all.  She admitted to being a little scared to go at first because she didn’t know what to expect nor did she know anyone that was there.  
    Once she arrived at Camp everything was okay.  She was surprised as to how family oriented camp was.  Camp is very focused on unity and keeping everyone together.  Hannah expressed how blessed she is to have an amazing family at home  but pointed out that some kids don’t have that.
    Hannah said her favorite part about camp was on the very first night when everyone had a board to break. Everyone had to write something on their board that was blocking them from becoming the leader they wanted to be.  
    Hannah had some reservations about trying to break her board because she had done something similar in the past and was unsuccessful at breaking her board.  This time was different.  With the encouragement and support of the others she was able to break her board this time.  Everyone was successful in breaking their boards.
    One thing Hannah took away from her camp experience was learning how to get along and work with others that were also leaders at their schools.  Hannah said she was use to being a leader at TCS because many of the students like to follow.
    There were about twenty campers in her cabin and they have all become very close friends since their time together.  Hannah said she has already met up with a couple of them, but they are all planning on a reunion sometime in the near future.  
    While at camp they all participated in some unusual, yet very fun, team building activities.  Although some of them were frustrating, they were fun and everyone learned something.
    After TCS, Hannah plans on majoring in theatre and would like to be a director.  Although she thought about becoming a lawyer or a doctor, she wants to do something she is passionate about.  She is currently the assistant director for Sweeny Todd at the Finley Playhouse.
    WHAT IS Camp RYLA?  Strong leaders are made, not born. Leadership principles are learned not inherited. Through Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), “Leaders of Tomorrow” have a forum for teamwork, communication, & consensus building in an environment that challenges personal and team responsibilities. This multi-day leadership skills summer camp annually provides over one hundred outstanding high school student leaders, opportunities to expand and hone their leadership skills through cabin activities, athletic events, educational workshops, and team building exercises.
    WHO PARTICIPATES IN RYLA?  RYLA campers are high school juniors who have excelled in one or more areas of high school involvement and who have proven leadership potential. Last year, all 64 clubs in Rotary District 5810, recruited from approximately 90 area high schools for camper scholarships. Interviews were conducted from over 1500 student applications. With so many quality candidates it is a difficult decision in filling the 180 spots in final attendance.
    RYLA objectives:  
+ To provide an atmosphere where future leaders will experience learning situations that will aid them in developing sound values.
+ To promote an environment that will provide each individual with a basis of insight and understanding for intelligent leadership.
+ To promote involvement that encourages participants to think through appropriate actions based on values and ethics.
+ To encourage students through cooperative activities and group dynamics to develop leadership skills that can be carried back to their high schools and be modeled by other students
Julie Rickey - Getting Ahead In A Just Getting' By World
    Julie Rickey is the founder and executive director of MasterKey Ministries.  It began in 2009, after Julie discovered many families wanted help with their children’s education as well as their own.  Many of the families were also in need of food assistance.
    Julie shared one story where some teachers gave a refrigerator to the family of one of their students.  After spring break the teachers were shocked when they learned the dad sold the refrigerator so the family could go to Disney World.  The family was back to using a cooler to keep things cold.  This is just one example of generational poverty.
    “Poverty isn’t just about the limitation of income,” explained Julie, “although that may be one factor.  It’s more of a limitation of resources as a whole.  It also causes an instable life.”
    There are two kinds of poverty:  situational and generational.  Situational poverty is generally caused by a sudden crisis or loss and is often temporary.  Events causing situational poverty include environmental disasters, divorce, or severe health problems.  
    Generational poverty occurs in families where at least two generations have been born into poverty.  These families are always facing a moment by moment crisis with problems that confront them all the time.  This has a negative affect on the children as well.  Studies have shown that because of these stress filled environments a child’s brain is going to be under developed.  It affects their memory which hinders their ability to learn.  As a result they have a difficult time in school.  
    The schools sometimes misunderstand what’s going on and often sees these children as being disrespectful.  They see them as having behavioral issues and learning problems.  Julie pointed out that half of the children in poverty have a treatable mental health position.
    Julie said there are two kinds of ways that we can do things.  We can actually fill the gaps for people that are needs’ based.  MasterKey Ministries helps change the quality of life for someone now.
    Julie noted that she wants to empower people out of poverty.  She added that our community is very strong with needs’ based support but we need to become empowerment based.  
    Their food assistance program is wonderful but it will never break the cycle of generational poverty.  They have begun an educational program to help break the cycle of generational poverty. It is called “Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World.”
    It is a 16-week program where twelve people apply and are interviewed for a program.  They are called investigators.  They all learn together with the facilitator.
    MasterKeys just finished their first class.  The invetigators first learned what poverty was.  They then were required to take their income and determine what they could afford for housing. They all learned that applying the 30% rule for housing, they couldn’t afford to live anywhere without some assistance.
    They looked at the community through an economic lens so to speak in regards to low income, middle income and wealthy.  Each one has it’s own set of rules, its own language and its own motivations.  They had to learn how to speak the middle income language.
    They were also taught to investigate and how to find resources and grow their social capital.  It also taught them how to set goals.
    Nine of the twelve women graduated from the 16-week commitment.  Five received a promotion or an offer for a supervisory position.  One enrolled into college and two of them were able to improve their housing.
Sandra Dean - MasterKey Ministries
    Sandra Key is the Board of Directors president for MasterKey Ministries.  She first explained how they came up with their name.
    Sandra pointed out that we all come up against obstacles in our lives from time to time, doors that are closed, and someone comes along in our lives with a key to that door to open it up and help us either educationally, physically, financially, spiritually or however it is.  The idea of the key to helping other people is tied to the Master, our creator, hence, MasterKey Ministries.
    Beginning in 2008, Julie Rickey and her mother spent the next two years knocking on doors in East Sherman talking to people, finding out what their needs were and praying with them. Overwhelmingly, they found out what everyone wanted was to help their children succeed in school.  Sandra noted that if children have fallen behind by the third grade their chances of completing their education are slim to none, therefore, the poverty cycle continues.
    Julie began tutoring children after school. Today they have 65 children who come for tutoring Monday through Thursday after school. The children are tested at the beginning of the year and again at the end of the year and the results show significant improvement.
    Over the years they have discovered that the parents have educational and spiritual needs, too. As a result, they offer ESL (English as a second language) classes.  Julie also noticed these families were food insecure, so she started gathering food for them. Three years ago this October they opened a food bank and it is the only client choice food bank in Grayson County.  The people are allowed to shop for the items they want and not just have a box of food handed to them.  The food bank is open each Saturday and Sherman families are allowed to come shop once a month.  They are currently only able to serve families living in Sherman.
    On Fridays they give away fresh produce to everyone in Grayson County due to a grant from Catepillar.  Thankfully Harvest Time Church in Sherman hosts this event.  Sandra added that 85% of those who come for the fresh produce are elderly.
    Sandra said they like to help people today with their food needs, tomorrow with their educational needs, but most importantly eternally with their spiritual needs.  You can feed people today but if you leave them without hope for eternity you haven’t really done them any kind of service,” confirmed Dean.
    There are several opportunities to volunteer.  On Monday, Wednesday, or Friday each week from 9 am to noon they need volunteers who can lift 40+ pound boxes to help with their food bank. They also need help stocking the pantry from 10:30-12:30 on those days.
    On Fridays from 9:15 am to 12:30 pm they need help distributing fresh produce to Grayson County Residents.  On Saturdays you can help from 8:15 am to 1:30 pm is their food pantry day.  There are several different things to do on Fridays and Saturdays including signing people in, serving refreshments, helping in the kitchen, stocking, cleaning up, etc. Volunteers are also needed on Thursdays to help picking up food from the North Texas Food Bank and taking it back to MasterKey.
    Now that school is back in session there are several opportunities to help with after school homework Monday through Thursday each week from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.  You can volunteer just one day a week.  To volunteer, call 903-870-6014.
Rick Amsberry - Rotary District 5810 Governor
   Rotary District 5810 Governor Rick Amsberry, along with his wife Lisa, made their official club visit last week.  They are both members of the Park Cities Rotary Club.      Lisa is Director of Youth Services for Park Cities and Rick is the Youth Exchange Chair.  
    Governor Amsberry noted that each Rotary Club is made up of people of all ages with an vast array of backgrounds and educational eperiences, however, we all have a common thread. We all have the desire to give back, to help others.
    Rick said Rotarians, like himself, want to give back without any expectations of something in return.  He added that he has a job that he enjoys and a home with all the conveniences.  He has everything he needs.  He’s blessed.  He is grateful and as a result wants to give back.
    In 1911, Arthur Sheldon coined the phrase, “He profits most who serves best.”  Although this phrase leads us to believe we gain something from giving, we actually don’t other than the fact that we feel good by being able to help others who are less fortunate.  
    Governor Amsberry pointed out that we all gain a lot while doing our service projects.  For instance, while working our Flag Lease program, we engage other Rotarians, friends, familty members and other organizations such as the Boy Scouts.  Everyone feels better when they see the flags flying on the various holidays.  It makes our communities a better place to live.
    The stuff we do really matters.  “It Makes A Difference,” Amsberry proclaimed in referencing Rotary International’s 2017-18 theme: Rotary - Making A Difference.  Our three profit centers of serving through Rotary are making the communities in which we live better, enriching relationships with people and knowing the things we do really matters.  
    First Lady Lisa is asking for support of the Alzheimers Association.  In addition to money, she is inviting everyone to walk with her on Saturday, October 7 for the “2017 Greater Dallas Walk to End Alzheimer’s” event.  This is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.  The Dallas Chapter serves thirty-four North Texas counties including Grayson County.
MeLissa Eason - Sherman Public Library
        Maybe you haven’t heard about the incredible shrinking libary.  Maybe you haven’t heard that Sherman “has” a library.  MeLissa Eason, library services administrator for the Sherman Public Library, tells the true story.
        Yes, Sherman has a public library and due to a fire in April 2017, they have moved from a 19,000 sf space to a 1,100 sf space located at 1000 N. East Street in Sherman.  Thankfully, it’s only temporary while renovations take place.  
    Although they are in a much smaller space, they still offer most of the services they have before.  They just have to be a little more creative with such.  They have just finished their summer children’s readying program.
    They are currently doing a children’s story time and a baby story time  They have teen read sessions in the MLK building across the street.
    The participated in the Christmas in July program by giving children books. They plan on participating in the same capacity during Arts Fest this September.
    Beginning on August 28th the Sherman Public Library will start a vegetable garden.  Elementary aged children will improve their literacy skills while they learn how to take care of a garden.
    The Friends of the Sherman Public Lilbrary is a non-profit group of volunteers interested in helping to expand and improve the services of the Library.  They sponsor numerous programs such as Authorfest, Trick or Treat Village, the Summer Reading Club and Travel Video Brown Bag Lunches.  The sponsor a book sale each spring and fall.
    Friends of the Library also sponsor six Book Review Luncheons each year.  Currently the luncheons are being held at the Sherman Museum while the Library is being renovated.  The luncheons are on the first Monday of the month in October, November, December, March, April and May.
    Although the main service of the Library is to provide books, their role has changed over the years.  The Library is a community center where people can meet and to connect with people who have resources within the community.  This is why it is very important for the Library to work with other organizations.
    The Library focuses on programs for children because their goal is to get them started early and provide books for those who may not have books in the home.  The Library also offers programs for senior citizens and are looking to expand on them going forward.  
    They will be providing some new programs at the Senior Center such as teaching Facebook.  The will have a book club and music programs as well.
    MeLissa said they offer these programs to help level the playing field for those who don’t have access to the technology others have.  Some people don’t have a computer at home. Others may not have someone in their life that knows how to use them either so they can learn.
    The Library offers print books, large print books, e-books, audio books and down loadable audio books.  They have magazines, newspapers, DVD’s, computers with printing capabilities and fax servies.
    The Sherman Public Library has a Local History and Genealogy Department, which houses books and records, marriage licenses (1846-1911), Grayson County deeds (1846-1885), Grayson County tax rolls (1846-1910) on microfilm, obituaries, Sherman City directories, the Sherman newspaper, Grayson County Census records and Grayson County Cemetery records.
Dr. Jerry Lincecum - Chicken Expert
    Chicken expert Dr. Jerry Lincecum shared a coop-full of information about chickens.  Okay, so he may not be a chicken expert, but he is one of the best when it comes to telling a story.
    Jerry grew up on a farm where they kept a few laying hens and raised some fryers.  He said they ate lots of fried chicken back in the day, but he had no idea the of important role chickens play in our world today until he recently read a book by Noah Strycker called “The Thing With Feathers.”  It was the chapter on chickens that intrigued Jerry.  
    By the end of the 20th century, domestic chickens outnumbered humans by about four to one on this planet, distinguishing them as the most abundant bird species on Earth. Actually, chickens are the world’s most numerous reptile, amphibian, mammal, or bird, period. At any given time, the globe hosts about 20 billion domestic chickens, though most don’t live very long. The average North American eats more than 50 pounds of chicken a year (the equivalent of about 27 individual birds), which ranks, pound for pound, slightly less than beef and a bit more than pork.
    It was only in 1996, that chicken consumption passed that of beef and veal. It was at that time we were made aware of something known as “Bad Cow Disease.”
    In recent years, chickens have been genetically engineered to grow faster and bigger.  Today’s six week old chicken weighs six times more than those in 1957.  It also has about 10% more breast meat.  It has been observed that today’s broilers have such well-endowed breast, they can hardly walk, as demonstrated by Dr. Lincecum.
    Chickens are often dismissed as stupid, but they have taught us a great deal about ourselves.  This was illlustrated by a six-year-old Norwegian boy who studied chickens over one hundred years ago.  This boy made close observation of the agreesive behaviour in the chickens and came up with the concept we call today as “the pecking order.”
    That young boy, tending his mother’s chicken coop outside of Oslo, noticed something curious about the birds he fed every morning. When any two hungry chickens met at the food tray, one would always make way for the other, patiently waiting its turn. Instead of fighting like unruly teenagers over Thanksgiving dinner, the chickens usually formed an orderly line with minimal fuss.
    Furthermore, the order was utterly predictable. One particular hen was always the first to eat, followed by a second individual, then a third, and so on. At the water dish, their behavior was the same. If one tried to jump the line, it was barraged by pecks from the birds in front, and it quickly retreated.
    By the time he was 10, Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe (Thor) was keeping his observations in detailed notebooks. He’d discovered that the order of the feed line was based on aggression; certain hens, for some reason, always dominated others. So Thor began charting aggressive interactions among the birds in his mother’s chicken coop, hoping to figure out, scientifically, whether his ideas made sense.
    He discovered a clear pattern to his discovery.  The top bird, at various times, had pecked every other bird in the coop.  The second chicken had pecked all the other birds except the top bird.
John White & Britney Martin - Children's Advocacy Center
    John White is president of the board for Grayson County’s Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC).  He became interested fifteen years ago whey he sat on a Grand Jury and witnessed a five year old and a seven year old having to come into the Grand Jury room alone and be questioned by the attorney and members of the Grand Jury.  
    John said the board’s purpose is to support the CAC and help them get the things they need, especially operating resources.  They currently have the Cattleman’s Call which they started a couple years ago and their annual golf tournament.  The next golf tournament is coming up on Oct. 6th.
     Briney Martin is the executive director for the CAC.  She said their primary purpose is to bring all of the private and public entities together that work with child abuse.  
    When children come to them they are interviewed by a specially trained professional at the reqeust of law enforcement and Child Protective Services.  This Forsenic Interview process is designed to provide children the opportunity to disclose abuse to a neutral party in a child-friendly setting.
    They have family advocates on staff to walk the families through the process.  Not only do they explain the process, they will also go to court with them if needed.  They are there to offer famlies emotional support and make the proper referrals to help the families move forward.
    The difference between the Children’s Advocacy Center and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is CASA deals with kids that have already been removed from their homes and placed into foster care.  These children are mostly involved in the civil courts.  The CAC becomes involved when there are crimial charges involved.  
    Grayson County Children’s Advocacy Center offers both individual and group counseling to families referred to the counseling program. Therapy enables children who have been abused to develop a healthy self-image, learn to trust again, and identify ways to protect themselves from further victimization. Specially trained and licensed therapists work with child victims on complex issues stemming from their abuse such as trauma, shame, embarrassment, safety, and self-esteem.
    The purposes of the mental health services provided by the Grayson County CAC are to promote healing, to lessen the likelihood of revictimization and to decrease the ongoing and long-term social, emotional, and developmental outcomes of trauma. The CAC is committed to providing “best practices,” ensuring children and families receive culturally competent, developmentally appropriate, trauma-focused therapy. The CAC recognizes the profound importance of caregiver involvement in each child’s healing and provides the mental health services and support needed to assist parents and other family members build on their personal strengths and community supports as they respond to their child’s treatment needs. We offer specialized trauma-focused mental health services for child victims and their non-offending family members.  The CAC does not provide psychological or custody evaluations.
    Since its founding in 2004, the Grayson County Children’s Advocacy Center has provided prevention/community training to over 10,000 students and adults and counseling services to over 1,250 children.
Howard Berg - World's Fastest Reader
    If you could read twice as fast as you do now with increased comprehension, how would that affect your life?  Would you be able to get more things done during the day?  Maybe it would allow you more time to enjoy life and do the things YOU want to do?
    Howard Berg is considered the fastest reader in the world. "The Guinness World Record Book" recognized Berg in 1990 for his ability to read more than 25,000 words per minute and write more than 100 words per minute.  Howard has been featured on over 1,100 radio and television shows.  He shared some of his techniques with us last week.
    Howard shared five skills to help us double our reading speed, improve our comprehension, how to remember what we learned, some math magic and some emotional counter skills.  Mr. Berg has helped thousands read faster.  He has a student who passed the bar in California at the age of 19.  His 22 year old brother is also an attorney and a flight instructor.  Not to be outdone, their 15 year old sister is in her first year of law school and will be the youngest person in California to pass the bar.  The second youngest to pass the bar will be a 17 year year old, all who are using Howard's techniques.  
     Another student, Stephen T., graduated from UT-Arlington  at the age of 16 with a 4.0 g.p.a. majoring in Economics.  He went to Oklahoma University were he got his Masters in math at the age of 19 finishing with a 3.97 g.p.a.  
    Brad Voellar received his four year college degree in six months.  He learned Chinese in three weeks.
    Comprehension is more important than reading fast, however.  People don't want to read fast, they want to learn fast.  Howard said the trick to reading and learning is "schema."  Schema is the technical term meaning what you know already.  Schema is like the decoder ring.  Not only does it help you read faster, but it helps you slow down when you come across a new word that you need to know.
    Howard shared a technique to help everyone develop their emotional intelligence.  It is something we all can do every day.  He noted this is a good way to help someone when they are about to take a test and although they know the material, they become stressed and unable to do well on the test.  It helps create focus, concentration, relaxation or any state to help you be more successful.
    Mr. Berg shared some math magic.  He presented the simple math problem "103x107=?".  It is very easy to figure without a calculator.  Here's how.  3x7=21, Now add bilaterally 103+7=110 which is the same as 107+3.  They are always the same.  Now write down 11021.  The answer to the equation 103x107 is 11,021.  
    Howard then taught some memory techniques.  The Greeks discovered thousands of years ago a shortcut to memory.  Although there are many, one is taking what you are trying to learn and associating it to something you know.  1=pole, 2=shoes, 3=tricycle, 4=car, 5=glove, 6=guns, 7=dice, 8=skates, 9=cat (nine lives), 10=bowling pins.  
   Howard is donating his learning system to our current college scholarship recipients and our two RYLA campers.  Thank you Howard!  
   If you want more information about Howard's systems for you, your kids or grandchildren, you can check out his website at  You can call him direct at 214-952-9150 or email him at  Howard added that he is willing to give us personal one-on-one time or help.  He just wants to help people.
Grayson Rotary's 31st Installation Ceremonies
    Terry Everett, installation officer, explained Rotary as a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. The Rotary Club of Grayson County will be “Making A Difference” in 2017-2018 as it begins its 31st Year of Service.
    Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For 112 years, Rotary members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end.  We are “Making A Difference.”
    Our motto is: “Service Above Self.”  Ever since 1905, our guiding principles have been the foundation of our values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership.  These principles have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.
    Terry spoke on the four Objects of Rotary and the 4-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say or Do.  He then gave a brief synopsis of the five Avenues of Service:  Club Service, Vocational Service, Club Service, International Service (The Rotary Foundation) and New Generations Service (Youth).  
    Terry said your time, energy, and a passion to improve your world are all you need to get involved in “Making A Difference” with Rotary.  We are not a civic club or a breakfast club.  We are a Service Club!
    Officers and Directors for the 2017-2018 year were installed.  Edwin Clark was installed as Club Chaplain to “Make A Spiritual Difference” in our club.
    Peter Munson will continue as Song Leader.  He will be “Making A Notable Difference” by serving as the club’s Melody Master.
    Paul Manley has already began as Flag Master.  He will be “Making A Patriotic Difference” as he oversees our largest Service Project and Fund Raiser.
    Francis Campbell and Susan Whitenack will team and Co-Chair our Fund Raising events.  They will be “Making An Economic Difference,” this year.
    Belinda Spears will coordinate our Service Projects this year.  She will lead our club to “Make A Serviceable Difference” by improving the quality of life in our community.
    David Cortinas will serve a second year as The Rotary Foundation Chairtarian.  Our club will continue as an EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year) club as we support PolioPlus, the Guatemala Literacy Projec and the Wheelchair Foundation.  We will continue “Making A Supportive Difference.”
    Edwin Clark will continue a second term as our New Generations Chairtarian.  With youth as our future leaders, we will help them “Make A Difference” going forward.
    Sarah Pierce will team up with Norman Gordon as Co-Chairtarians of Membership.  This is Norman’s third year and with Sarah, they will continue “Making A Growing Difference” for Rotary and our club this year.
    Cindy Brandt will serve a seventh year as Club Administrator.  She will help guide our club to “Making A Positive, Citable Difference” in relation to Rotary’s three strategic priorities so we may do everthing possible to qualify for the Presidential Citation.
    Randy Langford will step into the role of Sergeant-at-Arms.  He will be “Making A Difference” each week as he prepares our room for meetings, maintains decorum and keeps the atmosphere where visitors will freely want to return.
    Steve Ramsey, will serve a fourth term as Treasurer.  He will by “Making A Financial Difference” by keeping all of our finances in order.  
    Terry Everett will continue to serve an eighth year as Club Secretary.  He will by “Making A Documentable Difference” by keeping track of attendance, filing reports to the District and Rotary International plus helping the Club President and Club Administrator as needed.  Terry will continue “Making A Writeable Difference” as he continues his 22nd consecutive year as Bulletin Editarian, Program Director and PR guy. 
    Stacy Braddock has been selected as Presdient-elect so she may serve as Club President in 2018-2019.  She will attend PETS (Presdient Elect Training Seminar) next March and coordinate our annual Awards Banquet.  
    Jim Walker will be “Making A Presidential Difference” as he leads our club through its 31st year of service.  With Jim’s leadership, we WILL be “Making A Difference” once again.
    The members then pledged to support President Walker, the officers and programs of the Grayson County Rotary Club by their attendance, their participation, paying their dues on time, supporting our fundraising efforts, selling more fruit and nuts, giving to the SHARE program, singing with Gusto, laughing a weak jokes, supporting our books’ game, doing a better job with the football parlay, volunteering to serve others, inviting more prospective members, living the 4-Way Test and by “Making A Difference.”
Billy Teague - Veteran Services
    Billy Teague is the Veteran Outreach Specialist for the Veteran Services Office at Grayson College.  Part of what Billy does involves the Department of Education Grants.  They are monitored by the Veteran’s Administration.
    There are many young men and women who have returned home from military service and only have a high school education.  It is very important that we help them get the education they deserve, otherwise their job opportunities are very limited.  The good thing is the military today is offering more benefits to veterans than ever before.
    Veterans who entered the military in Texas, served a minimum 180 days of active service, were honorably discharged or discharged under general conditions and discharged back to Texas, can qualify for the Hazalwood Act.  The Hazlewood Act is a State of Texas benefit that provides qualified Veterans, spouses, and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption, including most fee charges, at public institutions of higher education in Texas. This does NOT include living expenses, books, or supply fees.  There are other programs that can help pay for living expenses.  
    These benefits are limited to just the veterans.  These benefits can be passed on to your spouse, your children or even your grandchildren.  There are certain conditions that apply, but it is definitely worth looking into.
    Let the advisors in the Veterans Services Office assist you to get in the right program, the right courses and receiving the right benefits.  Their advisors are also official School Certifying Officials and have direct contact to VA.  They are specially trained to make sure you maximize your benefits while in school.
    The College Credit for Heroes program seeks to maximize college credit awarded to veterans and service members for their military experience and training.  They help veterans and service members obtain their degrees and certifications more quickly and expedite their entry into the workforce.
    Grayson College has the Veteran’s Hub, an area for veterans to go and relax while on campus.  It is a place on campus where only veterans and military personnel can go to study, have a cup of coffee, watch a little TV and meet other veterans.  
    The Student Veterans Association offers an outlet to connect with other veterans, to serve the community and participate in campus activities.  They also have guest speakers and provide opportunites to meet visiting VA respresentatives.
    The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success provides a single point of contact for all veteran-related services.  Everything veterans need to begin their educational pursuits can be accessed there, from admissions and registering for classes to financial aid, counseling, advising and veteran benefits.
    Grayson College and the Grayson College Foundation have embarked on a campaign to support student veterans at Grayson College.  The Boots to Books and Beyond Scholarship will support critical on-campus resources, services and activities.  These veteran only scholarships can help when other resources are just not enough.
Dr. David Hicks - Building Bearcats
    Dr. David Hicks, Sherman I.S.D. superintendent, shared information on how they are moving forward with “Building Bearcats.”  Dr. Hicks said the Citizens Advisory Committee has been working since last September to plan for the future and determine what is right for our community in terms of a bond election.  
    Their Charge remains the same.  They want a long range plan for the district to address growing enrollment and to make sure the facilities continue to improve to provide students the best educational opportunty.
    There have been about twenty additional members added to the Advisory Committee. They reached out to people that were either not involved in the formal conversation of the bond proposal or were actively not engaged in supporting the bond.  They did this because it is about what’s right for the community and not just for the school district.
    The meetings have already begun.  On June 13, they reviewed their Charge for the Building Bearcats Citizens Advisory Committee.  The looked at how they can gain consensus and make decisions.  The looked at the May 6, 2017 Bond Election results and what they learned so they can move forward and build for the future.  They toured the facilities on June 20.
    On June 26, they will address the Economic and Demographic Outlook for Sherman and Grayson County.  They will update Sherman I.S.D.’s demographic projections. They will update their assessment of the facilities.  They will also share their expectations of educational opportunities for students in the Shernan I.S.D.
    On July 11 they will identify, discuss, design and project possible costs of various projects.  On August 2, they will address SISD facilities, demographics, finances, educational learning, possible capital projects, and the Economic and Demographic outlook for the City of Sherman.  On August 3, they will come to a consensus on recommended projects.  They plan to have a special Called Board Meeting on August 7 to make recommendations on Building Bearcats for the future.
    The May 6, 2017 Bond Election was very close. There were 2,051 votes cast for the bond and 2,195 against.  Of the approximately 24,000 registered voters in the Shernan I.S.D., 4,257 citizens voted (18%).  The 2017 Bond Election percentage of registered voter turnout exceeded ALL but 2 Texas (Democrat & Republican) primary elctions over the past 17 years.
    The top three most significant statements that influenced voter decision to SUPPORT the 2017 Bond proposal were:  1.Sherman High School is overcrowded with more than 1,800 students in a facility built for 1,400.  A new high school would enroll up to 2,100 students with flexibility to increase to 2,400 students.  2. Sherman I.S.D. is faced with overcrowding and additing portable classrooms as a result of growing by about 1,000 students over the past 10 years.  3. Sherman I.S.D. schools are exceeding their useful life with 8 of the 12 facilities averaging 65 years in age and 44 renovations.  
    The top three most significant statements that influenced voter decision to NOT SUPPORT the 2017 Bond Proposal were:  1. The amount of the bond proposal was too high at $308 million.  2. The bond proposal would result in a tax-rate increase.  3. The projected cost of a new high school was too high.
    SISD 2017 Bond Election results show that building a new high school and renovating the old high school into a second Middle School was a big priority.  The same goes for upgrading the technology infrastructure at all campuses and across the district.  
Bert Garcia - Family Promise of Grayson County
   Bert Garcia spoke on a new organization that began forming in early 2016.  Family Promise of Grayson County is a non-denominational, non-profit 501(c)3 organization for families in transition.  They plan to start helping families by October 2017.
Why Family Promise of Grayson County?  "Because every child deserves a homel."
    They are one of over 200 Networks across the United States.  There are over 4,500 congregations within the Networks that provide their space for up to seven consecutive days.  There are 17 affiliates in the state of Texas, with the closest being in Collin County.
    Is there really a need here?  Yes, there are over 1,100 homeless family members in Grayson County.  There are only 69 available beds for homeless families in Grayson County.  There are hundreds of homeless children in our school systems.  Statistically, children who change schools 3 times in a school year have only a 23% chance of graduating high school.
    There are six components to Family Promise:  Host/Support Congregation, Day Center, Transportation, Funding, Social Services & Volunteers.  The Host Congregation will provide overnight lodging, meals and hospitality for one week at a time.  Support Congregations may not have the physical space to host, but they can provide much needed volunteers, supplies and finances.
   The Day Center is the hub of the Network.  Each day the guests are brought to the Day Center where they are provided with a homelike atmosphere from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Many guests are employed and will go to work.  Others will work with the Network Director to find jobs and housing.  The children will go to school.  Those who aren't old enough to go to school will have a designated area at the Center.
    Transportation will be provided to transport guests to and from the Host Congregation.  They will also provide transportation to employment interviews, housing searches, medical/dental appointments and to social service agencies.
    Funding from both financial and in-kind will be sought after.  Money will be needed to pay for a Network Director, as well as provide insurances, utilities, furnishings and a number of other  necessary items to make the program a success.  Bert said they estimate it will take $125,000 to operate the first year.
    In regards to Social Services, Family Promise feels it is imperative to collaborate with local agencies.  They are not looking to duplicate a service if it is already available.
    Volunteers are the lifeblood of the program.  Volunteers provide a variety of services such as cooking and serving meals, playing with children or helping with homework and staying overnight.  There is an opportunity for the while family to volunteer on some level.  It will take between 35 and 50 volunteers per week. 
    In 2014, National statistics showed 53,322 individuals had been served to date.  Of those, 58% were children with 43% of the children under the age of 5.  The average length of stay is 64 days with a 74% success rate.  Success is defined as finding housing.  There have been 180,000 volunteers that have helped 700,000 clients or about 50,000 annually.  
    In 2016, for the fourth year in a row, Family Promise was rated a four star charity by Charity Navigator.
    Currently, there are twelve participating churches.  Visit their website at for more information or contact them by email at
Eddie Brown - Sherman Chamber of Commerce
    Eddie Brown has been president of the Sherman Chamber of Commerce for six years.  It's an exciting time to be in Sherman with all the growth going on.  The Chamber is experiencing a lot of growth as well. 
   Eddie noted that a lot great things are happening around Grayson County.  Every Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m., Sherman, Denison and Pottsboro Chambers have a networking breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn.  
    A year-and-a-half ago, Sherman held their networking event on Tuesdays while Denison held theirs on Wednesdays.  Since they have teamed up, the group has grown from about 15-25 a week to 50-60 people each week.
    The Sherman Chamber has averaged 40-44 new members a year over the past five years.  So far this year, they have already added 31 new members.  Currently, there are just over 500 members.
    Information will be coming out soon on the Chamber's annual New Teacher Luncheon which is set for Friday, August 4th.  The last couple of years Sherman I.S.D. has added about a hundred new teachers and they anticipate about the same number this year.  
    Leadership Sherman is a great opportunity to learn about what goes on within the city, the county and area businesses.  The purpose of Leadership Sherman is to provide an in-depth education of the various services of local, county and state government, local business and industry, educational institutions, civic organizations, and social service agencies. The program furnishes leadership skills training that equips the candidates and benefits the city of Sherman and the county of Grayson.
       They just graduated their largest class of twenty-six leaders.  The next class will begin in September.  They will begin taking applications in late June or early July.  You can contact the Chamber for more information.
    The Sherman Magazine has really grown as well.  It is published every January.  They will begin working on next January's edition in August.      
    They just wrapped up their 6th annual golf tournament on May 5th.  It also continues to grow.  They had over 100 golfers this year.  The best part is each year they are able to raise more money.  They use the proceeds to help fund some of their events such as the New Teacher Luncheon and Leadership Sherman.
    The Sherman Chamber of Commerce is an important resource for advocacy, information and marketing exposure.  The Chamber promotes the economic success of the individual member businesses and the collective strength of our community.
    Eddie announced that he has been asked to serve on the Texas State Chamber of Commerce.  
    Congratulations Eddie!!!
Sharon Watson - North Texas Youth Connection
    North Texas Youth Connection got its start in 1976, with the primary mission of serving runaway, homeless and street youth and their families.  Sharon Watson, who has been the executive director since June 2012, shared how the center began and what they do.
   It was when a Piner middle school teacher noticed a young boy was coming to school who wasn't very neat or clean.  She discovered he was living in a Goodwill box located on the school grounds.  
   He said he had nowhere to go and was getting in trouble for staying out on the streets.  Because school was the one place where he felt he safest, he made his home within the security of the box.  At the time, the only alternative that homeless youth had to living on the street was being labeled "delinquent."  Since there was no place for the children to stay they were incarcerated with adult offenders.
    This was a state-wide problem, not just one for Grayson County.  Sharon noted she was working for the Dallas Morning News at the time, and there were efforts to change the status of these homeless children changed to a non-delinquent status.  For this .to happen, they had to have a place to live.
    Some local women decided to fix that problem and established what was known as Grayson County Juvenile Alternatives.  This is how North Texas Youth Connection is incorporated.  They decided to change the name several years ago because they were being confused as a juvenile detention center.  They are licensed to house up to fourteen kids aged 10 through 17.  
    Several years ago, they lost some of their federal funding which forced them to drop some of their programs.  At the time, they were serving fifteen counties in North Texas.  
    Since then, they have had to regroup.  Grants from the Munson Foundation, the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation, the Sherman Service League in conjunction with community donations and help, have allowed them to completely remodeled the facility.  Most recently, they have remodeled this kitchen.  Sharon said it looks more like a lodge now than a shelter. 
    The kids that come to the facility don't have any boundaries.  They have been raised in broken homes where there has been drug addiction, mental and sexual abuse.  Sharon emphasized these kids are really, really broken, so they place boundaries on these kids and help them start putting their lives back together.
    Most kids stay with them for 90 days.   Some kids will be graduating high school but staying longer because they have no place to go.  Sharon added that what she has found in the five years she has been there is, the older kids aged 14 to 17, who have been through foster care time after time, simply don't have any place to go.
    Sharon noted they have become known throughout the state as a facility that will take in older kids and work with them on finishing high school.  It's not unusual for a child to be several years behind in their studies.  Sharon pointed out, "We are not just a place where you drop off kids."  The staff is very, very caring and will do everything they can to help these kids graduate from high school.  
    In addition to the administrative staff, they have youth advisers that stay in the shelter with the kids.  They have three shifts and are open 24-7.  The youth advisers are required to go through forty hours of training before they work with the kids.
Leland Samuelson - Final Preparations
    Leland Samuelson spoke on a subject last week that we all don't like talking about.  Although we don't like talking about it, the subject becomes of more and more importance every day.  Sooner is much better than later because at some point you will have to do more than just talk about it.  Funeral Planning.
    Mr. Samuelson knows all about Funerals and planning.  He has been a minister for over 30 years and has been heavily involved in the funeral business over the past twelve years.
    Leland explained that we do funerals, mostly all wrong.  Hundreds of questions need to be answered when planning an funeral service and unfortunately, most of the time this has to be done within about 72 hours.  Lots of information has to be gathered and decisions need to be made on things that many have never thought about before.  To make things even more difficult, we now have to make many decisions during some of the worst few hours of our life.  
    Why do we do it way?  Is it because we don't know there is a better way?  Is it because we are just too afraid to talk about it?  Are we so superstitious that we think if we plan ahead for it that we are just planning for ourselves to die sooner?  Whatever the excuse may be, it isn't good enough. 
    Planning final arrangements ahead of time are a lot easier when you can remove the loss of a loved one from the conversation.  Most of the things that have to be done when a loved one passes can be done before.    
    By planning ahead you can look around and find a nice cemetery plot that meets your needs if you don't already have one.  They all have different prices and your planning professional can help you find one.  Perhaps you have been to a funeral where you really like a certain aspect of one or maybe there was something that you just would not want to take place at yours.  By planning ahead, you can work all of these decisions out.
    Don't rely on life insurance as your plan.  You still need to have a plan in place.
    By planning ahead, it removes the emotional, as well as financial, burden so family members won't have to wonder if they did the right thing.  It allows you to control your own celebration so it truly reflects who you are.  It organizes data so your family doesn't worry about locating vital information.  It shows your sense of responsibility for family by making decisions, so others won't have to - saving them from potential disagreements.
    Leland emphasized that if you don't have any life insurance you need to talk to someone (Terry) about getting some.  However, just because you have life insurance, it isn't a plan.  It helps, yes, but it isn't a plan.  It is just a way to fund your funeral.
    Planning is free!  A planning professional will use a guide to help you record all of your choices.
    If you choose to purchase a service, they can also help with that.  Purchasing a service is not planning, it is the result of planning.  
Cary Wacker - Austin College Provides Regional Prosperity
    Cary Wacker is Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement & Director of the Center for Community & Regional Development at Austin College.  She spoke about the "Regional Prosperity" Austin College has offered since it moved to Sherman 140 years ago.  They have been committed to a mutual contribution and involvement to the surrounding communities.  
    The college is looking for meaningful ways to commit resources to the community.  One of the programs that has had a profound effect on the community is their Master of Arts in Teaching Community Scholarship Program.  There are over 100 graduates of that program currently working in the Texoma region.  
    Cary said Austin College received a $1.2 million Noyce grant to to provide scholarship support for eleven future STEM teachers beginning as early as their junior year.  The scholarship recipients must complete a major or receive a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) and pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.  They will be awarded $12,500 for the junior year, $25,000 for the senior year, and $40,000 for the graduate year.  The scholars agree to teach in underserved, high need schools for the early years of their teaching careers.
    Cary then talked about the Sneed Prairie Farm Project.  For 20 years, Austin College faculty, staff, hundreds of students, volunteers and community members have been returning the land to its native state.  Since spring 2002, Austin College has hosted 37 schools from four counties, and more than 10,000 4th and 5th grade students.
    The Austin College student field trip leaders describe the plants, animals, and ecology of the tallgrass prairie, discuss the history of land use in our area, and explain our prairie restoration activities. Children learn about native grasses and plant seeds, observe the effects of intentional fires, see how plant roots prevent erosion, “discover” animal skulls, and have a chance to observe and handle large, local fossils. A pavilion with a covered seating area, restrooms, and water fountain allows classes to bring sack lunches. Additionally, the building is solar-powered and contains a rainwater harvesting system for drinking water. The sustainable design of the building is featured during the field trip.
    Grayson County Rotary, Sherman Rotary, Denison Rotary and Whitesboro Rotary provided grants to help build the pavilion.  It was a combined project for the Rotary clubs to help commemorate Rotary's 100th birthday.
    The Social Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation (SEPA) program was initially put into place to teach students about grant writing.  Student interns pair up with local nonprofit organizations for eight weeks during the summer to write grants to help improve or increase the services these nonprofits can deliver.  Through 2016, they have had 76 students participate in writing over 55 successful grants for 50 unique nonprofits, totaling over $500,000.  
    The Austin College Service Station is their volunteer service center ran by a 20 member student force with one part-time staff member to handle the administrative duties.  They coordinate and facilitate all community service projects on campus.  For the past 25 years, they have provided over 15,000 hours of service every year.  
    Beginning this past January, AC students participated in a month-long experiential learning class, January Term CityLab, to help address community issues in a Texoma city. Students worked in one or two local cities on a defined project, helping strengthen communities through planning, applied research, and tasks that enhance the quality of place for residents
Dr. Andra Petrean - Cool Science at Austin College
    Dr. Andra Petrean, associate professor of physics at Austin College, shared a little information on some very cool technology.  It involves superconductivity, carbon nanotubes and thin films. 
    Superconductivity is the name given to a remarkable combination of electric and magnetic properties which appear in certain materials when they are cooled.  Conductors readily conduct an electric current and are used in power lines and magnets.
    The ability of conductors to carry current changes with temperature.  The cooler the conductor the lower the resistance resulting in superconductors having zero resistance.  Unfortunately, it costs more to cool the superconductors than the benefits received..
    Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, is known for the discovery of superconductors.  He had a laboratory that allowed him to cool matter to extremely cold temperatures.  In 1908, he liquefied helium and in 1911, he discovered superconductivity in mercury.
    From 1911 to 1987, different groups tried building their own materials to have a higher transition temperature.  Yttrium barium copper oxide (YBa2Cu3O7-x) was then discovered.  YBCO is known as a high temperature superconductor (HTS).  Although this superconductor works at a higher temperature than the others, it is still very cold.
    The advantage YBCO has over the other materials is its transition temperature of 77 K, which is the boilding point of liquid nitrogen.  (77 Kelvin equals -321 °F)  (This would keep your beverage cold for a while.)  Liquid nitrogen is a lot less expensive than liquid helium.
    There are still some challenges with these materials.  They have a tendency to lose their properties when you try to add more current.  Many applications require larger currents which leads Dr. Petrean to her area of research.  She is trying to increase the amount of current that can be put through these materials. 
    Dr. Petran showed a drawing of how a Type II, HTS Superconductor reacts.  When you add a magnetic field to these materials you will have loops of current that create vortices.  These magnetic vortices that are created repel each other since they are all north pole charged.  This results in all of the magnetic vortices moving around as they are trying to stay as far away from each other as possible which use energy causing the superconductor to lose its properties.
    Once you can make these magnetic vortices stay put, then you can increase the current.  In order to make them stay put you have to put defects in the material because the vortices would rather stay where the defects are.  
    Dr. Petrean talked a little about nano-technolgy which is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular or supramolecular scale.  Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.  
   Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.  Today's scientists and engineers are finding a wide variety of ways to deliberately make materials at the nanoscale to take advantage of their enhanced properties such as higher strength, lighter weight, increased control of light spectrum, and greater chemical reactivity than their larger-scale counterparts.
    Dr. Petrean then talked about the properties of thin films of gold at nanoscale.  We all know gold to be shiny, a shade of yellow (gold) and opaque.  She showed a picture of gold that had been sliced into different thicknesses.  The thinner the film of gold the more its properties changed.  In the photo, the gold even lost its color the thinner it was sliced.  Thin pieces of gold will melt at lower temperatures.  At some point, gold will lose its conducting properties and Dr. Petrean is wanting to find out at what thickness does gold lose its conducting properties. 
Mike Waterman - Glass Artist
    Once upon a time, Mike Waterman became very interested in women's fashions.  So interested, he began working for JCPenney in 1958, when it led him to New York where he was an assistant buyer in the catalog division.  
        A couple years later Mike became the head buyer of women's fashions in the Dallas office.  He bought dresses for about 700 stores.  What he enjoyed most was working with the designers.  He enjoyed working with the fashion experts so much he decided to get into the garment manufacturing business.  
    Mike would travel to New York five times a year working with designers and print makers.  He always enjoyed working with textures and colors.  Mike traveled throughout the country doing shows while working out of the Dallas office.  
    While working at the Dallas Apparel Mart one day, Mike met Alice.  Three years later they were beginning a new life together.  
    Alice is a very talented artist and because she loves art, she got Mike more interested in art.  So one day Mike decided to take a "clay class."  He enjoyed the class so much he decided to buy a couple hundred pounds of clay to set up a studio.
    So one day a friend of Mike asked him if he wanted to buy a kiln.  Knowing he needed a kiln Mike bought it.  When he got it home he realized it wasn't a clay kiln, it was a glass kiln.
    Since he now had a glass kiln, Mike donated all of his clay to Grayson College and started asking his friends for their empty wine bottles.  He started out making slumped wine bottles.  He then decided to start taking classes.  He has taken classes in Dallas, Sante Fe, Taos and Denver. 
    Mike claims it's actually the process he really enjoys. Glass is actually a liquid.  At 1,490 degrees glass becomes a puddle.  By raising the temperature to 1,700 degrees you can now manipulate glass.
    A quilt made by Mike's grandmother gave him the inspiration he was looking for.  He showed a piece of art he made as a result.  It is made up of four layers of glass that has been heated and cooled at certain temperatures.  
    Mike performed a demonstration of how he scores and cuts the glass before putting it into the kiln to heat it up so he can work with it.  As Mike held up a box, he pointed out that a glass artist never travels without bandages.  
    Mike had a Texas flag he made from glass.  He pointed out that everything he does, he personally cuts out himself.  Nothing is pre-cut or stamped.  The Texas flag consists of three layers of glass that have been heated and cooled to different temperatures before it is then put into a mold so it will hold its shape by a process known as slumping.
    He explained the process used to make some of the beautiful abstract pieces he had on display.  He added that not everything turns out like he wants and ends up going left into the trash or becomes a paper weight.
    Glass weaving is another process Mike has been experimenting with.  Although he hasn't done too much weaving he has created some very nice pieces of weaved glass art.  He said he likes layering the glass and mixing different colors together.
    It is very obvious that Mike has a great passion for his art.  He gets inspiration from people he meets, places he visits and something he may see such as the Texas flag.
SHS Interact 
    Four Sherman High School Interact members shared information about themselves and what they are doing.  Camrin Stephenson is co-president of the SHS Interact Club.  He noted the officers meet every two weeks and then all the members meet once a month.  As club president he prepares and runs the meetings plus helps recruit members.
    Having already been to Camp RYLA, Camrin Stephenson said he was already interested.  He concluded that Camp RYLA really opened his eyes to many things.  It changed his life.  Camrin still stays on touch with many RYLArians.
    Paige Pough, junior, is co-president of the SHS Interact Club.  She also helps prepare and run the meetings. Paige admitted she didn't know anything about Interact but upon doing a little research and learning they were focused on giving back to othere, she was in.  She helped come up with the shirts designs and as well.  Paige  thanked Grayson Rotary for the support.  Paige added they are raising money for much needed dog food for the Red River SPCA and will volunteer on April 8th to help the shelter.
    Lundun McBride is a very active member of the SHS Interact Club.  She reported that several students went to the Peace Symposium provided by District 5810 on February 4th.  Lyndon admitted it was very interesting and they all enjoyed the symposium.  She added that she was interested in being involved with Interact because her dad is a Rotarian.  
    Clarabell Prado, freshman, is secretary of the SHS Interact Club.  Her duties are to keep up with the members, record of attendance, and do all the required paperwork.  Clarabell attended the MLK Breakfast at Austin College and was very inspired by keynote speaker Dr. George Koonce, to help make her school and her community a better place. 
    Clarabell thanked Grayson Rotary for their support and added that although they are small right now, they are growing.  She also thanked Grayson Rotarians Susan Whitenack, Kate Whitfield and Belinda Spears for always being at the meetings and supporting them.  She expressed great thanks to Martha Stephens and Taryn Nejtek for being the faculty sponsors of the club.
    Leadership is an essential aspect of Rotary—and we offer both clubs and programs to help emerging leaders develop their skills. Through these groups, participants strengthen their leadership skills, serve their communities, increase their world understanding, build friendships, and more. 
    Interact is a club for youth ages 12-18 who want to connect with others in their community or school. Interact club members have fun while carrying out service projects and learning about the world. Interact clubs organize at least two service projects a year: one that benefits their community and one that encourages international understanding. While Interact clubs receive guidance from individual Rotary clubs, they govern and support themselves.
Dr. Jeremy McMillan - Grayson College 
    Dr. Jeremy McMillen, Grayson College president, has worked at other colleges, but pointed out that Grayson has the most support.  Grayson is a 2 year, community college and will accept anyone who applies for admission.
    The average age at most community colleges is 28-29.  The average age enrolled at Grayson is 24-years-old due to the fact that they have many high school dual-credit students.  High school students may take dual credit courses which allows them to get high school and college credit with one course.
    Grayson College recently received a $2 million grant to increase medical training skills within our community.  Many times, a nurse needs more training in a specific area.  They will now be able to get the special training at Grayson through the use of this grant.  
    Grayson County is one of only two counties in Texas, with more than 3,000 patient beds and no local access to a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN program.  Cameron County in south Texas is the only other county without a similar program.
    A recent Institute of Medicine report calls for 80% of RNs to have a BSN by 2020.  Only 31% of the registered in Grayson County and 32% in Fanning County hold a BSN, compared to 44% statewide.  Upon graduation, 95% of Grayson nursing graduates intend to pursue their BSN, however, after 5 years, only 1 in 20 have done so.  Grayson County alone needs to add 1,000 more BSNs in the next three years.
    Grayson College's existing nursing program holds a national accreditation and program graduates consistently score higher on the NCLEX exam than many other BSN progams.  Our community is committed to helping the college succeed.  
    According to the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services, Grayson County is ranked 31st among 252 Texas counties in Medicare/Medicaid spending per capita.  Grayson County is ranked 81st among all 3,130 counties in the United States per capita.  High costs can be contained by providing better services through highly trained healthcare professionals like nurses.
    Grayson College promotes economic growth in Texoma in a variety of ways.  The College is an employer and buyer of goods and services, plus the living expenses of students from outside of Texoma benefit local businesses.  Grayson College is a primary source of education to Texoma residents and a supplier of trained workers to regional industry.
    In fiscal year 2012-13, Grayson employed 563 full-time and part-time faculty and staff.  Of these, 98% live in Texoma.  Total payroll at GC was $18.9 million, much of which was spent in the region for groceries, rent, eating out, clothing and other household expenses.
    In 2012-13, GC  spent $19.8 million to cover its expenses for facilities, professional services and supplies.  The total income that GC created during the analysis year as a result of its day-to-day operations was $34.4 million.  
    During this time, around 6% of the students attending GC originated from outside the region.  Out-of-region students spent $7.8 million to purchase groceries, rent accommodations, transportation and so on, generating $7.7 million in new income in the economy.
    Grayson College's biggest impact results from the education and training it provides for local residents.  Since the college was established, students have studied at GC and entered the workforce with new skills.  Today, thousands of former students are employed in Texoma.  During the analysis year, former students of GC generated $264.4 million in added income in the region. 
    The overall impact of GC on the local business community during the analysis year amounted to $306.6 million, equal to the sum of the operations spending impact, the student spending impact and the alumni impact.
    Fall 2015 enrollment statistics from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board show Community Colleges are the largest sector of Texas higher education enrolling 47.1% (700,892 students).  Public universities enroll 41.6%, private institutions 8.5%, public medical institutions 1.6% and technical / state colleges 1.2%.  Of all students who receive a Bachelors degree, 74% have some transfer credits from Texas Community Colleges.  
Randy Truxal - Grayson College Foundation
    Randy Truxal, Executive Director of the Grayson College Foundation, is no stranger to raising money. Prior to joining Grayson College in 2014, Randy was a vice president and wealth strategist at Landmark Bank in Sherman and an associate administrator at Texoma Medical Center (UHS) in Denison. His fundraising experience comes from leadership and development roles with the TMC Foundation, Baylor Health Affiliate Group Foundation Service Department, and Friends of Abilene Christian University.
    During his time at Grayson, Randy has raised $3.6 million and awarded $1.5 million in scholarships to approximatley 1,200 students.  Grayson's 2017 "Supporting The Dream" campaign has a $360,000 goal.  
    The Foundation does more than just raise money for students.  They have Endowed Faculty Chairs that allows faculty to participate in professional development training above and beyond the usual experiences, and to gather resources and tools to enhance their program.
    The Innovative Teaching / Learning Fund provides resources for new and creative teaching practices and/or learning concepts.  This fund enables Grayson College colleagues to be creative in their respective field in implementing innovative teaching strategies that support student success.
    The Military Veterans Program "Boots to Books and Beyond" will assist the College's Veterans Affairs office to break down significant barriers and foster our warrior's success in higher education.
    Project "88 KEYS" helps with new instruments and equipment, professional instructors, and the expanded space for practicing and performances.  Funds raised will help this program continue to expand and enrich the community.  Grayson College is one of only two colleges to becoming a certified Petrof College.
    Randy pointed out that although they have adequate facilities for their baseball and softball programs, they are an elite program.  Their baseball team has three national championships and several more appearances in the World Series.  He invited everyone to attend a baseaball game.  
    Forty-five percent of the students at Grayson College receive some form of financial aid.  The Annual fund range in size from $250 to $2,000 and are awarded in their entirety.  
    When an individual, business, organization or foundation makes a large contribution of a least $5,000, the principal balance of the fund is invested.  The annual earnings from the investment enable the College to award various levels of funding to students and professors.
    Endowments can be funded with a one-time payment or cash or stock securities, over a multi-year period, and even through gifts from multiple donors.  
    Gifts that create a lasting legacy are created through the inclusion of the College in a will or as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
    Your dollars can be designated toward a program or another idea you may have.  Your contributions can be pooled with others' or can be set aside to create a named annual or permanently-endowed fund.
John Mabary - IRA Changes
    John Mabary, financial advisor for Edward Jones, brought everyone up do date on the recent Department of Labor (DOL) changes.  Everyone has probably hear about the DOL and that there are some changes coming, but very few know how the new laws are going to affect them.
    The DOL issued new rules that take effect April 10, 2017, which will impact all retirement accounts at all financial institutions and all financial advisors offering retirement services.  The rules require financial advisors to operate under a new standard called a “fiduciary standard,” which generally means they must be able to demonstrate they are acting in the best interest of their clients.  
    John said these are probably some of the biggest changes we have seen in our lifetime.  Additionally, these changes won’t make much sense unless we understand how they come about.  If you recall, the banks had to be bailed out in 2009, by the U.S. government to the tune of $787 Billion.  In effort to assure they wouldn’t ever have to do that again, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Law.  
    The DOL has supervisory jurisdiction over implementing changes to retirement accounts.  It took them seven-and-a-half years and three separate attempts to implement the new law.  Last April, they rolled out their final 1,023 page set of regulations.  These new laws go into affect April 10, 2017.  
    If you have an IRA account, you are going to have to make some choices going forward.  John explained the three options.
    If you have a commissioned based IRA, it will turn into a “Grandfathered IRA” on April 10th.  Grandfathered IRA’s are going to have some significant restrictions on them.  First, no new contributions can be made unless you are doing a monthly bank draft which must be set up before the end of March.  You will never be allowed to increase your contribution, but you can decrease it.  Also, whatever investments your monthly contribution is purchasing inside that IRA can never be changed.
    The second option is a “Fiduciary Style IRA.”  There are no commissions to buy or sell.  It is strictly a fee-based account.  This allows the financial advisor and client to hand pick a stock, bond,  or mutual fund.  Your portfolio can now be custom built to fit your risk threshold and return expectations.  
    Financial advisors can now monitor a client’s account to make sure their goals stay on track.  If changes are needed, there is no charge.  The client only pays a monthly money management fee to the brokerage firm.
    The third option for an IRA is a Best Interest Conract (BIC) IRA.  These are allowed for commissioned based trades and will have a lot of restrictions.  You will not be allowed to hold mutual funds in this type of IRA.  
    John noted this is just the beginning and there are going to be more changes, some of which affect 401K plans and other retirement accounts.  
    FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the SEC (Securities Exhange Commission) are also working on a “fiduciary standard.”  It will not be the same as the DOL which is very frustrating because that means there will be a different set of rules for IRA’s and non-qualified money.
Grayson County Rotary's 29th Annual Awards Banquet
    In the true spirit of Rotary in its founding days, Grayson County Rotary Club’s 29th annual awards banquet rotated locations.  Lots of fellowship kicked off a grand evening as guests arrived.
    After a fabulous meal catered by Feast On This, club president Cindy Brandt welcomed everyone.  She recognized the organizations we presented money to this year which includes KinCare, Children’s Express, Broken Heart Ministries, SHARE, Child Protective Serivces, the Guatemala Literacy Project, the Boy Scouts and the Grayson County Rotary Scholarship Foundation.  She noted other organizations we help as well such as the Foster Parents Appreciation Dinner, the Veteran’s Day Blood Drive, the Loy Lake Christmas Lights and many more.
    Cindy introduced Bill Slicker, Rotary District 5810’s Foundation Chair.  Mr. Slicker presented Paul Harris Fellowships to:  Melida Ailshire, Stacy Braddock, Francis Campbell, Edwin Clark, David Cortinas, Lisa Hebert, Steve Ramsey, Jean Sorensen.  A PHF+2 was presented to Cindy Brandt and a PHF+4 was presented to Terry Everett.  A Paul Harris Fellowship represents $1,000 given to The Rotary Foundation.  Each additional $1,000 contributions are represented by +#.  
    Kitty Richardson was presented a plaque by Cindy for the Grayson Rotary Club’s 2016-2017 Community Service Award.  Francis Campbell was presented a plaque for being selected as Grayson Rotary’s Club Service Award winner.
    A very special Grayson County Rotary “Thank You” goes to Laura Ramsey of Glazer’s Disributors for supplying the wine for the evening.  A “Thank You” also goes to her father Steve Ramsey for his help and making sure everyone had plenty to drink throughout the evening.
    Club president elect Jim Walker and his lovely wife Leigh did an outstanding job decorating and having everything ready for the standing room only crowd.  Thank you Jim! Thank you Leigh!  You two made the evening spectacular!!!
    One last “Thank You” goes to the Sherman Serivce League for the use of their beautifully renovated Service League room.    
Kitty Richardson - Wilson N Jones Regional Medical Center
    Kitty Richardson, Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center Administrator, shared information on the improvements of the hospital.  In 2014, the hospital celebrated its 100th anniversary.  There is a dedicated historical marker near the north end of the hospital.
    Although WNJ is over 100 years old and has had a few face lifts along the way, she is holding up very well.  There have been several improvements recently including the front lobby and Women's Services.  
    Keeping the hospital up to date and in good condition is of great importance, but not nearly as important as taking care of the patients.  Kitty emphasized, "As it always has been, our main focus is and still remains on providing passionate, quality care to those in our communities that we serve."
    WNJ primarily serves Grayson County.  Occasionally, they see patients from Oklahoma, and the surrounding counties.  They employ around 650 with about 250 medical staff members.  They have 80 to 90 volunteers in their Auxiliary program.
    Within the last six months, WNJ was the only hospital in Grayson County to receive a three star rating for the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.  WNJ is also a Level 3 Trauma center.  Kitty noted that a hospital must recertify every two to three years and they passed with flying colors this past Fall.  
    WNJ is also a certified Stroke Center.  Hospitals must be re-certified every two years.  WNJ received their Stroke Center re-certification on February 6th.
    WNJ also offers Behavioral Health Services to meet the community's growing need.  The have an inpatient unit that is for adults and geriatric psych.  WNJ is the only one offering the geriatric psych.
    The Women's Services Center is where the ladies deliver babies and undergo gynecological procedures.  About three years ago the hospital spent about $1 million and transformed eight patient rooms into four large rooms to provide plenty of room for family members.
    A couple months ago, the hospital opened a new 10 bed unit to take care of patients that require a little more care than a regular bed unit but not quite as much care as an ICU bed unit.  
    Along with the improvements to the hospital they are always looking to bring in new, quality doctors.  They have recently added some Internal Medicine doctors to their staff.  Kitty said there is still a big need for Primary Care physicians.  A little over a year ago, WNJ brought in Dr. Cody Starnes, a general surgeon.  He will work with Dr. Kenton Schrank.  WNJ will continue to look for another surgeon to join the staff.  Pediatrician Dr. Sridevi Alapti began February 1st and works with Dr. Kaylene Griffin.  
    Kitty pointed out they now offer 24 hour security for everyone's safety.  They are also available to help the Police and Sheriff departments when they bring someone into the ER that may require security.
    The hospital changed groups they contract with the run the ER in October 2016.  This change has resulted in reduced wait times, increased patient flow and a more efficiently ran ER.
    WNJ works closely with the area nursing homes, assisted living centers and skilled nursing facilities.  The hospital now has a system in place in their ER unit to care for sexual assault victims.  
    WNJ is very involved in the community and work with non-profit organizations. Their community awareness continues to grow.
    Kitty emphasized it is the people and the quality of care they give that makes WNJ special.  They will continue to grow services for their physicians so they can continue to give personalized, compassionate care to their patients.
Dr. Tyson Bennett - Sherman ISD Bond Election
    Dr. Tyson Bennett, Sherman I.S.D. Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, talked about the upcoming Bond Election that will provide money for necessary capital improvements around the school district.  Not only is the student population outgrowing the current facilities, but the facilities themselves are getting older.
    Eight of the District's twelve schools are 47 to 86 years in age.  The average age of District facilities is 47 years with over half of the schools exceeding their useful life according to architectural standards.  All of the older schools have marginal to inadequate site acreage with Douglas, Jefferson, Piner and Washington on completely inadequate sties.
     A snapshot of the school district reveals 7,359 students enrolled in the fourteen schools around Sherman.  The facilities cover 1.3 million square feet.  Sherman I.S.D. is the second largest employer in Grayson County with 1,234 employees.  Thirty-one languages are spoken in the Sherman Schools.
    Sherman I.S.D. was rated in the top 2% in the state for Academic Excellence from PreK to 12 grade.  Sherman High School ranked in the top 8% in the U.S. and the top 10% in Texas, on the 2016 list of "Best High Schools."  For the 10th year in a row, Sherman High School ranks as one of the best high schools in America for their commitment to preparing students for college. 
    Over the past 8 years, Sherman I.S.D. has strategically paid down debt for a cost savings to taxpayers of just over $28 million  SISD's total tax rate ranks in the bottom half of Grayson County schools.
    On January 17th, the Building Bearcats 2030 Committee recommended several projects to be considered.  First on the list is a new high school that will hold 2,100 students with the flexibility to increase it to a capacity of 2,400.  Next are technology upgrades for the District and Campuses.  Plans also include converting the old high school into a middle school and adding two new elementary schools.  The list also includes improving the Athletics and Fine Arts facilities.
    The Sherman Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $308 million bond referendum to be included in the May 6, 2017 election. It has been more than 11 years since the last Sherman I.S.D. Bond. 
    Texas public schools rely on the support of local taxpayers to fund construction and improvement of school facilities.  School districts borrow money in the form of bonds to finance design, construction, expansion and renovation of facilities.  This is similar to homeowners borrowing money in the form of a mortgage to finance a home.  Bonds are approved by voters in a bond election, then sold to investors in the competitive investment market to raise money to pay for capital needs.
    The estimated tax impact of the total 2017 bond proposal is anticipated to be $0.23 for a total tax rate of $1.67.  The projected annual maximum I&S tax increase for the average taxable value home in Sherman I.S.D. of $87,948 is $0.23 per $100 value, or $202.32 annually.  Estimated taxes are "net" of the State mandated $25,000 residential homestead exemption.  
    The State Property Tax Code allows for school property taxes on an individual homestead to be “frozen” at the age of 65. If you are 65 years of age or older and you have filed for the “Over 65 Homestead Exemption”, there is a ceiling on the amount of school taxes to be paid.  The only exception is if improvements are made to a home. As such, a tax increase from a new bond program cannot increase the applicable tax ceiling of a taxpayer that has qualified for the “Over 65 Homestead Exemption.”
    For more information, visit their website at
Stephanie Chandler - United Way Community Investment Director
    Stephanie Chandler has recently joined the staff of United Way of Grayson County.  She has a master's degree in Early Childhood Education.  Stephanie has been involved in helping the homeless prior to joining United Way.
    Stephanie brought up the fact that a lot of federal and state money available for our schools, jails and hospitals in the county is just sitting there.  For instance, the federal government gave the state of Texas $1.3 million for homeless solutions.  This is good for prevention funding, new construction, transportation and education.
    Only eleven agencies in the state went for that funding.  So now it's time to start opening doors so all agencies can apply for that funding. Stephanie pointed out that our schools and first responders are doing a great job helping with the homeless situation, but why not go after the money that is available to help them.  
    Stephanie shared a story of a 26 year old veteran with a wife and kids who is struggling with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). He is struggling with keeping a job due to PTSD.  He is working full-time currently.  They ended up losing their apartment, however.  Thankfully, his wife and kids were able to stay with some relatives.  He was living in his car to be near work.  As luck would have it, another car ran into his car while he was at work.  It was a hit-and-run.  He know has no place to live while trying to continue working, plus he needs to get his car fixed.  Thankfully, they were able to put him up in a hotel for a week.  This will allow him to work so he can pay to have his car fixed.  
    Stephanie noted there are 18,000 veterans in Grayson County and that many of them are homeless.  The good news is there is  a lot of support and help by Veterans' Groups, businesses, organizations and volunteers, but of course, they are always needing more.
Amy Porter - ReadyRosie Program
    The last time we got together for our regularly schedule program, we heard from Amy Porter about the ReadyRosie program.  Amy is the director of teaching and learning for Sherman ISD.  
    ReadyRosie is an early education tool that is currently helping schools and communities across the nation deepen and scale their parent engagement efforts by leveraging the power of video modeling and mobile technology to meet and equip parents where they are. ReadyRosie has hundreds of brief videos in English and Spanish that model everyday interactions in familiar environments with real parents.
    ReadyRosie is an online parent engagement tool. We send an email everyday that contains three-five videos. One video is in English, one in spanish, one child expert video, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays there are two baby videos (one in English and one in Spanish). It was created to give parents and guardian’s ideas of how to better engage their children at home, in the library, in the car, at the grocery store, or wherever they are spending time. We want to show the guardians that there is always an opportunity for learning and talking with their children and it doesn’t take hours of practice.
    Any child from age zero to six can participate in the Ready Rosie program.  Sherman ISD has purchased the program and made it available to anyone in Grayson County.  Children do not have to live in the Sherman school district to use the program.
    If you would like to see if ReadyRosie is available in your district just go to the website at: and type in your zip code. If a district pops up then you are free to register and will begin receiving the daily email the next weekday morning. When a district does not show up then ReadyRosie is not available in your area.  If you would like for ReadyRosie to be in your child’s school here is a letter, for you to send to your city leaders, school board members, teachers, or even superintendents.
    Amy encouraged everyone to spread the word about ReadyRosie.  She encourages parents, grandparents, babysitters, guardians, and anyone else that has direct contact with the child on a consistent level to sign up for the emails. 
    It's very easy to register and you can even do so on a smart phone or tablet.  Just go to and click on the Register Button.  After registering, download the mobile app for your iPhone or Android device.
Scott Bechtel - Car Wrap City
    About ten years ago Scott Bechtel started Texoma Wraps.  Scott was in the graphics printing business at the time and became very intrigued by the wraps as they started making an appearance.  He not only recognized a huge potential for an up and coming product but also saw many independent wrappers and sign shops doing it all wrong.
    Scott decided he could do it better.  He had a vision to be the best wrap shop around so he stopped making signs and banners to open up one of the first shops in the nation dedicated to just wrapping vehicles.
    His business began growing rapidly and they were soon wrapping vehicles across the in Oklahoma and all throughout Texas.  They now wrap vehicles all across the nation.  As a result, Scott said they needed to rebrand their name to a larger scale, so they chose CarWrap City.
    Everything is done in-house, right from the very beginning, to designing, printing and applying the wrap.  They will also remove the wrap.  Scott noted they use only the very best materials and certified, professional installers.  Quality is more important than quantity.
    Wraps go beyond just being some fancy design or advertisement.  If someone is tired of the color of their car and want to change it, they don't have to get a paint job.  You can just have your car wrapped in a new color of your choice.  You may want to add stripes or a single accent.  That can be done, too.  Then perhaps, you really like the color of your car and just wish you could protect the paint from road chips, scratches or general fading.  For this, you can have a clear wrap installed on your car.  It will protect your paint and have it looking like new after four or five years when you remove the wrap.  Wraps are 100% reversible without damage to your OEM paint and it only takes one to two days to install in most cases.
    The team at CarWrap City can wrap anything, no matter how large or small.  They wrap buses for schools and teams including the Dallas Cowboys and the team buses for the Cotton Bowl teams.  They wrap motorcycles, boats, golf carts, ATV's, coolers, helmets, etc.  They even wrap airplanes!
    Wraps build brand awareness and help boost sales.  Parked or on the move, wraps catch the attention of tens of thousands of potential customers.  Vinyl protects vehicles from rock chips and minor abrasions and is much cheaper than repainting a vehicle.  Caring for wraps is simple.  You won't have to wax your car again!
    Check out their website at  You'll see a little bit of everything they do as well as getting practically any question you might have answered.
GCRC Officers & Directors - What Do They Do?
    What do our Rotarians do?  Grayson Rotary Club's officers answered that question last week.
    The Club President runs the meetings of course.  They also head up the board of directors and coordinate the activities of the club with the other officers and chairmen or chairwomen.  This year's current Club President is Cindy Brandt, who is also serving her second time.
    Cindy is also the Club Administration chair.  The main objective is to work with the club in order to do what is necessary to fulfill the requirements of qualifying for the annual Presidential Citation.  The requirements are a little different each year and are laid out by the Rotary International president.  Last year, the Rotary Club of Grayson County was one of only four clubs out of District 5810's sixty-six club to receive a Gold Presidential Citation.   Our club has qualified for the Presidential Citation every year.
    The President-elect is responsible for our annual awards' banquet which is held in February.  Jim Walker is currently looking for a place and a caterer.  Jim will also attend P.E.T.S. (President Elect Training Seminar) February 24-26, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency DFW. 
    The Club Secretary is responsible for keeping Club records and submitting the necessary reports to the District and Rotary International.  They also work with the Club Administrator in completing the requirements for the Presidential Citation.  The secretary keeps each member's information current with Rotary International including attendance reports.  Terry Everett is the Club Secretary.  He also keeps the website up-to-date . . . for the most part anyway.  The secretary is also responsible for recording and keeping the minutes of the monthly board of directors' meetings.
    Although not related to the job of the Secretary, Terry is also the bulletin editor (Editarian).  And although not necessarily related to the Editarian's job, he is in charge of the Club's publicity and submit's articles to the newspaper on an almost weekly basis.  And, just because it makes sense to do so, Terry is the Program Chair who coordinates with the member's, who will have their turn in bringing a speaker to share something of interest about their career, their favorite organization or topic or even about themselves.
    Steve Ramsey has one of the most important positions because it deals with our Club's finances.  He is our treasurer.  He is responsible to make sure each dollar goes where it's suppose to go, whether it is to Rotary International (RI) or the District for dues, the Rotary Foundation (TRF) that each of us contribute to or one of our organizations that we support.  We support many different causes ranging from PolioPlus, to the Guatemala Literacy Project, to the Wheelchair Foundation, to the Boy Scouts who help us with our Flag Lease Program, to many other local organizations.  Steve even writes the weekly check to pay for our breakfast!
    Steve makes sure everyone receives their quarterly statement for dues, meals and TRF giving on a timely basis.  And if that isn’t enough, he prepares a financial report for the board of directors each month.  
    Our Sergeant-at-Arms is Larry Campbell.  Larry said the main requirement is to come early and stay late.  He is responsible for having our room ready when everyone arrives by putting up the banners, dressing the head table, having the member badges ready for wear, and distributing the hymnals.  He then sticks around and puts everything away after everyone has left.
    Becky Burtner is our Service Project chairwoman.  She does an awesome job of having several projects for the club to get involved in.  We are currently having a "Diaper Drive" collecting baby necessities for the C.P.S.  We have a food drive each month to help feed the local homeless.  In January, we will be involved in the Martin Luther King Celebration at Austin College on January 16th.
    The Club's Foundation chair keeps track of each member's contribution to the Rotary Foundation.  David Cortinas emphasized we will be recognizing several Paul Harris Fellows at this year's awards banquet in February, possibly more than ever before.  Each $1,000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation is recognized by a Paul Harris Fellowship.  There is not time frame to reach this goal.
    A contribution to the Rotary Foundation is included in our dues.  The Foundation chair is also responsible for any grants we might request from the District or RI to help with projects.
    Norman Gordon is the Club's Membership Chair.  He is responsible for having a New Member Orientation twice a year or when the need arises.  Norman encourages everyone to invite others to visit our club.
    Shane Pruitt swings a big hammer.  He is in charge of our Flag Lease Program.  In addition to coordinating the Flag delivery with Boy Scout Troop XV, Shane takes care of new installations.  John Mabary co-chairs the Flag Lease Program and takes care of the annual billing.  
    Edwin Clark is the New Generations Chair.  He oversees everything that has to do with youth including Rotaract, Interact, Camp RYLA and the 4-Way Speech Contest.  Bob Cape and Jean Sorensen are in charge of the Austin College and Grayson College Rotaract Clubs respectively.  Belinda Spears, Susan Whitenack and Kate Whitfield are responsible for the Sherman High School Interact Club.
    Stacy Braddock and Francis Campbell co-chair our fund raising programs which includes the Nut Sales.  Stacy is working on a skeet shoot fundraiser for the Spring.  With the help of Kate Whitfield, we recently raised $440, with more to come, from the local Belk shopping event.
    With all of that in mind, perhaps you found at least one of those summaries of interest.  As we are always looking to grow our member base, we are also always looking for fresh ideas and new energy to help our Club continue to be one of the best!  No experience necessary.  Each and every position in our club is open to everyone, whether you have been a member of Grayson Rotary for only a month or have been around since the beginning of (Grayson Rotary's) time.
Nathaniel Lightfoot -  Texoma Community Center
    Nathaniel Lightfoot has been working at the Texoma Community Center for about a year now as their OSAR (Outreach, Screening, Assessment and Referral) coordinator.  Prior to that he investigated cases for Child Protective Services for eight-and-a-half years.
    In addition, to his OSAR duties, Nathaniel also does individual and group counseling at the facility.  He admitted, "There's a ton of people that need help and not very many able to get help."  Most of us know someone who has experienced some for a addiction in our lives.  The sad fact is if you don't have a lot of income or insurance, help isn't readily available.  
    Unfortunately, only about 4% of those in the state of Texas, who are trying to get into detox services actually get in.  Nathaniel said these are not the people who say they think they need to get off alcohol, or get on some prescription medication , but the ones that actually come into his office desperately wanting help.
    Nathaniel said they are doing everything they possible can to get these people help, but there just aren't any options.  There are only a couple facilities in North Texas that take in people with chemical dependencies.  One is located in Dallas and the other in Fort Worth.  They only have between 32 to 64 total beds with thousands of people looking for help.
    Nathaniel pointed out that many of these people with addictions are not what you might call a junkie or some drunkard.  Many are retired who have worked their whole lives that got hurt at some point and went to the doctor for help.  They eventually became addicted to prescription medications and feel as thought they are going to die if they didn't continue taking the prescription.  
    Treatment can help these people, but it takes money and time.  It can work if they have the support and follow through.  With a combination of in-patient treatment followed by some out-patient treatment, results are highly effective.  The problem is the treatments are just not available.
    Having the mind set that this person has a moral failure, a lack of judgement or they can't make good decisions is not true.  We all make mistakes.  Unfortunately, this person has something they need help with and if we continue to have the stigma they are just making a choice and should just say no, then they aren't going to get any better.  We need to build community support.  We need to build understanding.  
    Texoma Community Center has an out-patient treatment program on site.   They can do individual counseling and group counseling.  As far as detox options, sometimes the can get people in through Wilson N Jones or Texoma Medical Center if they have insurance.  If they only have Medicaid, the only way they can get treatment is if they are suicidal and say they are going to go kill themselves if they don't get help.  Otherwise, they go to the hospital where they are told they are not going to die and sent on their way.  
    Nathaniel emphasized the need to provide more education on addiction to everyone, especially in the schools.  Education needs to be an ongoing thing.  We need to make sure everyone knows there are options out there.  
Michelle Flemming & Brett Graham - Texoma Health Foundation
    The Texoma Health Foundation (THF) was created on January 1, 2007, from the sale of the non-profit Texoma Medical Center to the for-profit Universal Health Services.  Michelle Lemming was hired as the Foundation’s first executive director.  Michelle helped with the transition of the Foundation, as well as the construction of the THF offices and new Reba’s Ranch House.
    Michelle said that as soon as you walk into the Foundation’s office or Reba’s Ranch House, you can feel the love and care that is part of the organization.  It is truly a very unique characteristic.  By being a part of conferences all across the U.S., they hear many stories of what other foundations are doing and what we have here in our own backyard is truly amazing.  
    Michelle emphasized the Foundation has come a long way since it’s inception in 2007, because of people like Brett Graham, Board Chairman, the THF board of directors, and all the volunteers who have helped over the years.  
    The Foundation got started with $11 million from the sale of TMC.  Today, it has $55 million in assets. Mr. Graham said the most important thing they have done is invest the money, make sure they get a good return and then giving the money back to the community for health related causes.  
    Brett said they go out and solicit grants. Then their Grant Giving committee uses a very fair and equitable process to determine how the funds are dispersed.  
    Historically, the process was people would bring them grants and they in turn would decide who to fund.  Brett spoke about a shift occuring in the foundation world.  Foundations now have an objective or mission to where they go find the cause and then fund it.  This process is called “place-based philanthropy.”  
    Brett noted that Michelle has spent years studying place-based philanthropy and brought this new concept back to the THF board.  Ironically, as she was explaining this concept with no project in mind, they were simultaneously working on a health and wellness initiative.
    As they looked back over the years they realized they were funding grants to help people with disease.  They wanted to find a way to take their money and get ahead of disease.  They want to help prevent disease instead of only chasing it.
    So while they are having this health and wellness initiative discussion and while they are having this place-based philanthropy discussion, this park project all of a sudden falls into their lap.  This was the Foiundation’s launching pad to take on a huge project allowing them to change the way people in our community look at health and wellness and change the way their behaviors are.
    The park is now under construction.  It is the larget public-private collaborative in the history of Grayson County with a budget of $14 million.
    The park will be located in the new Gateway Village Development west of the U.S. 75 / Spur 503 Interchange in Denison.  It encompasses about 83 acres and yes it is a park.  It will also have walking/biking trails, baseball/softball fields, multi-use soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, green spaces for all types of excercise, and much more.
    However, Brett expressed there is something much bigger than that.  He said their health and wellness inititive has now become life activated.  It is bigger than the park. It is bigger than 83 acres.  It means they will now be strategically working with other parks and other communities on projects where the THF can help them build their own health and wellness initiatives into a more regional program.
Shea Seastrunk - The Rehabilitation Center
    The Rehabilitation Center in Sherman has been making lots of changes recently.  Shea Seastrunk, board member, shared those changes and the vision of the center.  
    They have created a new logo and are rebranding the center.  The also have a new website,
    The Rehabilitation Center has sort of been on the down-low for a while, but all that is about to change.  For the past 66 years, they have been treating people with occupational, physical or speech therapy needs within a four county area.  They treat patients of all ages, ranging from pediatric to geriatric.  The lion share of their patient load is with children.  Shea noted this is the reason she got involved. 
    The Rehabilitation Center was organizes to treat and support people with disabilities or disorders and their families in June 1950.  It got its start in a school house on Woods Street in Sherman.  In 1957, they were able to purchase a house on South Crockett.  In 1960, the Center was able to build a treatment facility at its present location at 1216 Hillcrest Drive next to Wilson N. Jones Hospital.
    The land for the building was given to the Center by WNJ.  The building was paid for by donations from individuals and organizations so there was never any debt. 
    The Rehabilitation Center has a fairly large Sponsor-Share Program.  This allows the center to provide therapy to those who cannot afford it.  No one is refused treatment. Some patients are able to pay all or part of the fee.  Some have insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, which covers a portion of their treatments.  
    The Center was able to add a speech and hearing clinic in 1966.  Services were enhanced with the addition of the Aquatic Center on Texoma Parkway in 1990, with renovations undertaken in 2006.  The Hillcrest location underwent major renovations and expansion in 1998.    
    The Center continues to meet the needs of the community.  Current services include occupational therapy, physical and aquatic therapy, speech and language therapy, sensory integration clinic, and an array of support and adjunct services.
    Rayce Guess is on the Board of Directors and serves as their marketing chairman.  He shared information on a couple of their upcoming fundraising events.
    On Sunday, November 13, from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. they will have a Dine & Donate event at Texas Roadhouse.  Be sure to let the your server know you are there for the Rehabilitation Center and they will donate 10% of your total food purchases to the Center.
    Ribs4Rehab is their big fund raising event on Saturday, November 19th at Loy Lake Arena from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.  You can enjoy a great Bar-B-Que meal with live entertainment and a silent auction.  Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the Jared Mitchell Band.  
    Auction items include autographed memorabilia from the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, and the University of Texas.  Other items include Denver Bronco Superbowl memorabilia autographed by Jordan Taylor, an autographed Kevin Hart Poster (1 of only 5 in the world), a Choctaw Concert Package, a signed Johnny Manziel Texas A&M jersey with awards and college highlights stitched in, a golf package with four rounds at four country clubs, and a whole lot more.
Grayson Rotary Club Inducts New Members
    Grayson Rotary's four applicatarians were inducted last week and are now official members of the Grayson Rotary.  Congratulations and a Grayson Rotary welcome goes to Tony Bennie, Brynna Harris, Shawn Teamann and Susan Whitenack.
    Tony is Grayson County's Deputy Sheriff and was introduced to Rotary by Tom Watt.  Tony lives in Bells with wife Michelle.
    Brynna works for American Bank of Texas in their marketing department.  She was invited to join Rotary by club president Cindy Brandt.  Brynna lives in Sherman with her husband Sean.
    Shawn is owner of the local Nautilus Fitness Centers.  Sarah Pierce brought Shawn to Rotary.  He lives in Sherman with his wife Randi.  Rumor has it they are expecting their first child.  Shawn is also a candidate for Sherman's City Council.
    Susan is assistant superintendent for Sherman I.S.D.  Her sponsor is Cindy Brandt.  Susan moved here from Allen this past summer and lives in Denison.
    Kate Whitfield was presented with her official blue badge from club secretary and installation officer Terry Everett.  Her sponsor is Jean Sorensen.
    President Brandt shared some District news, talked about the Rotary Foundation and membership.  Lisa Hebert and Cindy attended a District Foundation and District Membership meeting the previous Saturday.  
    During the membership meeting they stressed importance of inviting previous members back.  We all run across previous members from time to time, so the next time you do, please ask them to come back to Rotary.  Share Rotary with your friends, acquaintances, co-workers or co-volunteers in other organizations.
    Our Rotary District is going on a 7-day cruise April 23-30, 2017.  You can bring your family or friends.  There will be a couple service projects you can participate in if you want as well.  
    For each person you bring as a guest to Rotary you will receive one ticket for a drawing that will award a stateroom for the cruise.  For each invitee that joins Rotary, you will receive 10 tickets for the drawing.  So start bringing some guests and stuff the ballot box for yourself.  You will also help us grow our club which is a very good thing.  Look at all the great people who have joined our club.  We just keep getting better and better plus it allows us to do more things for the good of Rotary.    
    Did you know you can give to Rotary by doing things you do on a regular basis?  You can also get discounts and receive special offers on shopping, travel, business services, entertainment, etc.  There are 137 ways in the Sherman area alone.  Also, when you travel you can reap the same benefits there as well.  
    Go to, click on "My Rotary" on the upper right-hand side of the page and sign in. If you are a first time user, it is very easy to get started.  On the sign-in page just click on "Create Account" and fill in your name and email.  You do NOT need your Rotary ID #.  Check your email to complete the registration process.  Click on the link "Activate My Account" which will take you to a webpage where you will create a password and answer a security question.  Click "Continue" and you are all set.  You now have a "My Rotary" account.  
    Once you are signed-in to My Rotary you will see a Rotary logo.  Across from the logo on the far right hand side of the page you will see "Member Center."  Click on it.  You may have to scroll down a little depending on your screen.  In the middle column is "Rotary Global Rewards."  Click on "Explore Rewards" and you are all set to help Rotary and get some discounts.  
    2017 marks the 100th Anniversary of The Rotary Foundation.  Our club dues include $25 per quarter for The Rotary Foundation.  The District WILL recognize our PolioPlus giving which qualifies us to receive District Grants.  
    A $1,000 contribution to The Rotary Foundation will make you a Paul Harris Fellow.  A $1,000 per year contribution ($83/month) will make you a Paul Harris Society Member.  Once you have collectively reached $10,000, you will be recognized as a major donor.
Shawn Teamann - Sharing the Health
    Shawn Teamann continues to get more involved in our community in a multitude of ways.  He wants to give back to the community that has given him so much.
    Most importantly, Shawn is Grayson Rotary's most recent applicatarian and will soon become an official member.  For the past thirteen years he has owned the local Nautilus Fitness Centers.  As an extension of his fitness business, Shawn has become very involved in helping rid our community of the "Sitting Disease."  
    It hasn't made the news and you probably haven't ever heard of it before, but, you are probably a victim of this highly addicting disease.  It is  something that scholars and medical professionals are starting to recognize as a real problem.  An average person sits thirteen hours every day.  So when you add that to eight hours of sleep it adds up to a total of twenty-one hours of being still, or sedentary.  The Sitting Disease has become a country-wide epidemic.
    Most recently, they had a "Party In Pink" benefiting Women Rock.  It was held last Saturday, October 22nd.  They offered several exercise classes to the general public as a fundraising event.  Shawn noted that his staff volunteers their time and efforts to make it a successful event.  They also volunteer in many other events throughout the year.  
    Their primary focus is related around kids.  In fact, one of their major fundraisers each year is for the local Wishing Well Foundation.  The Wishing Well makes dreams come true for kids who are facing life-threatening or catastrophic illnesses.  Shawn said they are very honored to be able to help them raise money for the kids.  
    Shawn is also on the board of the Lamar County Coalition of Education, Business and Industry.  They bring school districts and industry together to help insure that students are successful graduates and fully prepared to enter the workforce and/or go on to higher education.  
    Last year, they started a new school program called "Fitness For The Future."  The purpose is to establish healthy lifestyle habits with children at an impactful age and to make fitness fun.  Their focus is on kids in grades one through six.  The goal is to make a difference in young children's lives by educating them about healthy lifestyle choices.  
    A Nautilus personal trainer will visit a school and work with the kids in a classroom setting.  They will discuss the importance of diet and exercise.  The trainer will read books, brain storm, and challenge the kids with fitness related topics and exercises.
    Shawn noted that overweight and obese children is becoming an epidemic.  From 1980 to 2012, the number of obesity rates in children has tripled in some age categories.  The younger kids did okay, but the six to eleven age group doubled.  The twelve to nineteen age group tripled, going from 7% obesity to 21% obesity.  
    Research has shown that children who are overweight or obese have a 230% greater chance of developing some type of health problem and even dying early.  Being overweight and obesity in children begins around the age of two and has lasting effects for the rest of their life.  Kids today sit on average, anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours a day as a result of video games, the internet and television.
Laura Ramsey - Mascot Trivia
    It was collegiate mascot trivia day last week presented by Laura Ramsey.  Laura awarded special spirited prizes to the few who knew the most.
    Before her presentation everyone had one minute to write down, in order, the top 5 college mascots according to weight.
    We will rank the 129 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) mascots beginning with the lightest.  It is the Georgia Tech Yellowjacket barely tipping the scales at .0001 lbs.  The Ohio State Buckeye comes in second at .02 lbs.  The Ball State and Iowa State Cardinals weigh .09 lbs.  The Louisville Cardinal has human teeth to bring it up to .16 lbs.  The Kansas Jayhawk (a fictitious bird) looks to be a cross between a Blue Jay and a Kestrel so we will average those two weights to bring it to .21 lbs.  
    Syracuse Orange .4 lbs.  UTSA Roadrunner .84 lbs.  Maryland Terrapin .9 lbs.  TCU Horned Frog 1 lb.  Air Force & Bowling Green have a falcon at 1.95  lbs.  each.  Miami, OH is the Redhawk at 2.4 lbs.  Oregon Duck 2.5 lbs.  Iowa and UL-Monroe have a Hawk, 3.0 lbs.  Iowa Hawkeyes actually list a "Hawk" as their mascot.  Florida Atlantic, Temple & Rice all have an Owl, 3.1 lbs.  South Carolina Gamecock, 5.5 lbs.
    Four schools have an Eagle:  Boston College, Eastern Michigan, Georgia Southern & North Texas, 10.5 lbs.  Minnesota Golden Gopher is 15 lbs. (estimated weight of a life-size gopher statue made of gold).  Virginia Tech HokieBird (turkey-like, 16 lbs.  Wisconsin Badger, 16 lbs.  Arizona, Kentucky, Northwester & Kansas St. each have a Wildcat, 19 lbs.  Texas St. & Ohio have a Bobcat, also at 19 lbs.
    Michigan Wolverine, 38 lbs. UConn, Washington & Northern Illinois, Husky, 47 lbs.  Oregon St. Beaver, 47.5 lbs.  Cincinnati Bearcat, 48 lbs.  Four schools have a 58 lb. Bulldog: Georgia, Fresno St., Louisiana Tech, Mississippi St.  Arkansas St. Redwolf, 67.5 lbs.  Kent St. & Southern Miss have a Golden Eagle, 72 lbs. (weight of a life-size golden eagle statue).  New Mexico Wolf, 123 lbs.  
    Thirty-five colleges list some type of human, 137 lbs. (avg. weight of an adult human):  Appalachian St., Arizona St., Army, Central Florida, Central Michigan, Charlotte, Duke, East Carolina, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan St., Navy, Nebraska, New Mexico St., Notre Dame, Oklahoma St., Ole Miss, Purdue, Rutgers, San Diego St., San Jose St., Tennessee, Texas A&M, Troy, UL-Lafayette, UMass, UNLV, Utah, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wyoming.  Grayson College Viking fits this weight division. 
    South Alabama Jaguar, 167.5 lbs.  BYU, Houston, Washington St., Cougar, 170 lbs.  Florida International, Georgia St., Pittsburg, Panther, 170 lbs.  Penn St. "Nittany" Lion, 170 lbs.
    Akron Kangaroo, 100 lbs.  (Austin College, too!)  North Carolina Dorsett Ram, 250 lbs., Colorado St. Ram, 270 lbs.  Baylor & UCLA, Brown Bear, 349 lbs.  Clemson, LSU, Memphis, Missouri, Tiger, 436.5 lbs.  Old Dominion African Lion, 440 lbs.  Auburn has a Tiger and an Eagle, 447 lbs.  Arkansas Razorback, 500 lbs,  Florida Alligator, 500 lbs.
    California Grizzly Bear, 900 lbs.  NC State and Nevada, Pack of Wolves, 1,107 lbs.  Boise St., SMU, Western Michigan, Horse, 1,210 lbs.  MTSU has a Winged Horse, 1,250 lbs.  Colorado Buffalo, 1,300 lbs (Ralphie's weight).  Florida St., Texas Tech, USC, and Virginia have a human on a horse, 1,387 lbs.  Buffalo, South Florida, Utah St., Bull, 2,000 lbs.
    The top 10 heaviest FBS mascots are:  #10 Texas Longhorn, 2,300 lbs.  #9 Oklahoma Schooner (moderately loaded), 4,070 lbs.  #8 Alabama Elephant, 13,000 lbs.  #7 UAB Dragon, 13,001 lbs. (Everyone knows a dragon weighs exactly 13,001 lbs.  #6 Marshall Herd of Buffalo (100 per herd) 135,050 lbs.  #5 Toledo Rocket, 735,000 lbs.  #4 Tulane Green Wave (Ocean), 820,000 lbs.  #3 Stanford Redwood Tree, 1,600,000 lbs.  #2 Miami Hurricane, 108,000,000,000 lbs.  
    The #1 Heaviest FBS College Mascot in the country is the Tulsa Golden Hurricane!  It weighs in a 1,182,000,000,000 lbs., the estimated weight of an entire hurricane hurricane made of gold.
    Oh, if there are any Western Kentucky Hilltoppers out there, sorry.  We couldn't find any out there to weigh.
Katrina Coffman - Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas
    Katrina Coffman is the Human Resources Director for Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas.  She shared information on their history and their purpose.
    In 1902, Reverend Edgar J. Helms of Morgan Methodist Chapel in Boston, started Goodwill as part of his ministry.  Helms and his congregation collected used household goods and clothing being discarded in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired the unemployed or bereft to mend and repair them. The products were then redistributed to those in need or were given to the needy people who helped repair them.
    Goodwill operates as a network of 164 independent, community-based organizations in sixteen countries including the United States.  There are fourteen different Goodwill organizations in the state of Texas including Goodwill of Northeast Texas, locally.  
    The Goodwill of Northeast Texas mission is  to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities or disadvantages. Providing employment opportunities, job training and employment services, as well as job placement opportunities and post-employment support.  Each Goodwill organization may have a mission a little different than the others.  
    Katrina said one of the great things they do here locally is to help individuals that have disabilities to go to work.  When an individual comes to Goodwill with a disability, and it can be a wide range of disabilities, physical or mental, Goodwill is here to help them.  
    When someone comes and say they would really like to work for Goodwill, Katrina said they will find a position for them within the organization.  If they prefer to have a job in an office or another company, then they will try to find them a job out in the community.  They work with them training on work ethics, how to interview, how to dress for success, hygiene, etc.  They will then assist them in putting applications out in the community.  They will go with them to the interview and sometimes, if allowed, they will sit in with them during the interview.  
    Once they get the job, a job coach will go with them to help fill out any necessary paperwork.  While they are learning the job and what is required the job coach will go with them and work side by side with them to make sure they know what is expected.  They will make sure then know what time they need to be at work, how to dress properly for work and ensure they have a way to get to work.
    Katrina added they are responsible for them for the life of the job.  If at any time in the future they have some difficulty with the job, a job coach will go back out help them again.  They will do whatever they can to help the individual be successful.
    Many of those that come for help are receiving Social Security.  When they begin working again that benefit is either lost or reduced, so that is beneficial to the system and the economy.  They may be receiving food stamps or other government services, and those are great things when you need them, but Katrina said they are working to get them off those services and to the point where they can support themselves and their family.
    Donations are what keep Goodwill Industries open.  There are fourteen stores in the Northeast Texas organization.  They have stores in Durant, Oklahoma, down to McKinney and Allen area and from Gainesville over to Texarkana.  Katrina noted that the quality and quantity of donated items has fallen due to people keeping items longer and some opting to sell things online instead of donating them. 
    Goodwill is so much more than just a place where you can drop off your unwanted items and get a tax receipt.  Eighty-five cents out of every dollar sold in the stores goes back in to support their mission.  The currently employ around 200 individuals with significant disabilities.  In addition, they serve almost as many each year by placing them in jobs within the community.
    Goodwill doesn't receive any form of government funding.  They operate only from the items sold in their retail stores.
James Smith - Sherman ISD Percussion Band Director
    James Smith, percussion director for the Sherman High School band, bragged on his band students and rightfully so.  James said he was very lucky because he gets to teach band at three schools for Sherman ISD.  He teaches first period, 6th grade percussion at Dillingham Intermediate School, second and third period, 7th and 8th grade at Piner Middle School and then the last three classes of the day at Sherman High School.
    There are seven band directors who teach approximately 600 kids.  James said they are very lucky to have great students, great staff and especially great parents to help.
    The marching band performed in their first contest last Saturday, October 1, in Denton.  They performed their new competition piece at the Friday night football game for the first time.
    Mr. Smith announced they would be going to Atlanta, Georgia, performing in a competition through Bands of America.  They will be the only Texas high school band to perform there this year.  Schools from several other states will also be performing.  This will give Sherman a great chance to see where they stack up nationally.  With the support of the school district and the Band Booster Program, each student will be able to go to the Atlanta competition for only $25.00.
    The went to one of these competitions a few years ago in San Antonio, Texas, and although they did very well, it was made up of almost all Texas schools.  The competition in Atlanta will allow them to compete against schools they have never seen before.  They are very excited about this opportunity.
    As if the Atlanta competition isn't exciting enough, the percussion group has been honored with an invitation to attend a competition in Indianapolis, Indiana.  James entered the percussion program in this competition last spring before they knew they would be going to Atlanta.  In order to be invited, you must submit a recording of a concert performed by the band.  Three college percussion professors listen to all of the recordings submitted from bands all over the U.S.  They will then make a judges' report commenting on how each band can make their program better.  They will then pick the top 10 groups to perform in Indianapolis, Indiana, next March.  Of course, Sherman qualified in the top 10! 
    James said the students deserve to go.  They work very hard, practicing eight hours a week extra, outside of the school day.  The music they have to learn is also very difficult. He gives all of the credit to the students for working so hard.
    There are twenty-six students going to Indianapolis.  It will cost about $1,000 per student to go.  That's presents a problem because there are several students who will not be able to come up with that kind of money.  James said he is doing everything he can to help facilitate this trip for the students because every one of them earned the right to go.  He is asking for community donations to help the students take this trip.  
    They have started raising money for the trip but have a long way to go.  Lasting Impressions Photography sponsored one student by donating $1,000.  James added that anyone or group that donates $1,000 will get as much publicity as humanly possible.  He will have some TV and radio air time as well.  Every opportunity James gets, he will mention those businesses.  He is accepting donations of any size, large or small. 
    On their way to Indianapolis they will stop at the University of Central Arkansas, just outside of Little Rock, and perform.  James is looking to set up one more performance along the way.
    After they perform in front of a room full of other percussion bands in Indianapolis, a group of college percussion professors will come up on stage and work with the students as a group and individually.  James emphasized this is an incredible opportunity for the students.  While they are there they will watch other percussion bands perform and observe their interpretations of percussion.
    James said he plays the guitar and the trumpet.  He added that there is only one right way to play those instruments.  When it comes to percussion there are hundreds of right ways to play.  That's one of the unique things about their art form.
    Mr. Smith noted that he has most of his students for seven years, from 5th grade through high school.  His goal is to get every kid to go to college.
Bill Magers - Grayson County Judge
    We all like the thought of paying less taxes and for the residents of Grayson County that thought has become a reality.  Grayson County Judge Bill Magers told us why this has become a reality.  
    For years we have been talking about how the growth is moving in our direction.  Well, it's here.  Grayson County is growing and as a result it is changing our county and the way governmental entities add revenues.  This in turn, allows the county to lower our tax rates.  Judge Magers noted that Grayson County has some opportunities over the next decade or two that will allow them to provide some additional services while lowering the tax rate during this growth phase.  
    Judge Magers noted, "As this growth comes we are not going to take big bites out of the tax rates, but small bites."  Developing a long term plan is critical.  We need to have a long term plan for Grayson County as these changes come.  This was the first time in twelve years that Grayson County has lowered the tax rate.
    According to a chart going back to 2012 new property gains have contributed to increased tax revenues.  In 2012, we gained about $500,000 in new tax revenue, $400,000 in 2013, $500,000 in 2014 and then in 2015 we jumped to $1,000,000 due to the Panda Effect.  These are additional tax revenues created by new developments only.
    Property taxes are a lagging indicator, so as we came out of the recession in 2012, we actually had a decrease in the ledger.  Tax revenues were up $700,000 in 2012, $800,000 in 2013, $1,5 million in 2014, $1.8 million in 2015, and then had our tax rate remained at 49 cents this year, tax revenues would have increased $2.4 million.  This not only tells us that property values are increasing but the rate of increases are increasing.
    Of course, the county could have done nothing and stashed the the additional $2.4 million away in their coffers.  The Commissioner's Court decided on a 3.5% tax rate cute which still left them with an additional $1.1 million in new money.  You may ask why didn't they cut taxes more?  Anyone in business knows that you don't cut your income stream completely off.  
    So you next question might be, "What are they going to do with this extra money?"  They are going to put $1 million into a one-time capital improvement fund.  Some of the things that will benefit are much needed improvements to the Courthouse, inside and out.  This includes updating the courtrooms and especially updating technology.  This will help extend the life of the jail as well.  
    Other one-time expenditures will include $450,000 to ingrate the county's financial software, $1 million payment for retirement benefits, and $2.6 million for transportation improvements.  They will also centralize development services and engineering with no budget impact.
    The Sherman-Denison MPO's Metropolitan Transportation Plan includes $70 million in improvements over the next five years.  Included in these improvements are the widening of FM 1417 from FM 691 to US 75 with a continuous left turn lane at a cost of $17 million.
     A few of the other improvements include widening FM 131 from US 82 to Taylor Street ($5.07M), reconstruct the overpass at FM 131 & US 82 ($3.2M), a ramp reversal at US 75 and Crawford Street/FM 120 ($4.5M), construct a new 2-lane road with shoulders from FM 121 south to the County Line ($8.1M), add two lanes to FM 691 between US 75 and Loy Lake Road ($4.2M).  
Dr. Gil Bernabe - Iraq & It's Many Influencing Factors
    Dr. Gil Bernabe spoke on "Iraq and It's Many Influencing Factors" last week.  He prefaced his topic will a little bio on himself.  Dr. Bernabe graduated from the University of Santa Clara, with a History degree and earned a Master’s Degree and Ph.D in International a Relations from Claremont Graduate School.  He also earned a second Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
    When he was substitute teaching the students would always ask him what his was doing in their classroom with a PhD.  He replied that everything he had their parents paid for with their taxes while he served for 26 years in the U.S. Army and 17 years with the Department of Defense.   Gil emphasized that he is a public servant teaching was his way of giving back.  He is also very happy to speak when asked as well.
    Right out of college Dr. Bernabe's entered the Army and after his first assignment became Airborne and Ranger qualified.  He then went off to Germany.  He also served tours in Viet Nam, Korea and all over the United States.  
    Dr. Bernabe said one of the better tours he had was instructor duty for five years at the United States Army Command and General Staff College.  This is where we send our Majors and some Lieutenant Colonels to get smart before they move out to major commands and before they take command of a battalion or brigade.
    After that Gil went to the Army headquarters of the Pentagon where he spent four years as the senior adviser to the Army Chief of Staff.  After that he spent two years in the U.S. State Department during the first Gulf War and a little after the war.   When he became a civilian he began helping implement treaties they had worked with the Soviet Union now called Russia.  Gil also escorted the Russians when they came to the U.S. to check on various bases and research centers around the country.
    Dr. Bernabe performed as an operations officer after the first Gulf War in Iraq with UNSCOM (U.N. Special Commission)  He did this for five missions in Iraq.  As a civilian he did a number of teaching missions in Russia helping them understand how the United States implements their treaties.  He also did teaching missions in Bahrain, Jordan and Kuwait, under Central Command, principally on control of weapons of mass destruction and black market activities.  
    One of Dr. Bernabe's claim to fame is he trained all of the U.S. inspectors on weapons of mass destruction before they initiated the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  He was very adamant with the fact they would never find anything there in 2003, because everything had already been moved to Syria and buried in the desert.
    Dr. Bernabe talked on U.S. interests in the Middle East and included a discussion on how Iran, other Middle East actors, religion, and terrorism play an integral part in the life of Iraq.  He then perceived what we might see for the future of Iraq.  His remarks highlighted the fact that with U.S. security, a level of progress came to Iraq.  During this brief period, changes in Iraqi law favored political involvement for women in Iraq’s local and national level governments.  
    Professional training seminars, which the U.S. agencies taught, also supported women’s positive role throughout Iraq’s political and educational activities.  However, as terrorism gained a foothold throughout Iraq and security disappeared, such progress came to an abrupt halt.  Dr. Bernabe forecast that when peace and stability return to Iraq, then maybe the role of women in Iraqi society will mean more involvement in government and education; and make a more lasting and positive affect on Iraqi society.
Tony Bennie - Grayson County Chief Deputy Sheriff
    Yes, there's a new sheriff in town with Tom Watt, and he brings Tony Bennie back home where he belongs as his chief deputy.  Tom said two days after the election he met with Tony and asked him to be his chief deputy.  Their friendship goes back thirty years when Tom was a Sherman patrol officer and Tony was a Department of Public Safety trooper.
    Tony is a second generation.  His father graduated from DPS school in 1972.  Right after Tony got out of fourth grade in McKinney they moved to Sherman where is father was stationed.  He graduated from Sherman High School in 1980, which was the same year he me Michelle, now his wife of thirty-three years.
    They raised their two girls in Bells where Michelle also taught school.  Tony jokingly admitted he got his wife about as far out of Fannin County as he could since she grew up in Savoy.  He said Michelle is very happy to be back home as well and teaching once again in Bells.
    Mr. Bennie said growing up in the Department of Public Safety had him always feel that law enforcement was a calling for him.  However, when he met his future wife, he decided that being a highway patrolman didn't make enough money, so he hired on to Texas Power & Light.  Four-and-a-half years later, Tony said he realized that climbing poles was not a good way to serve the Lord.  
    Tony decided to pursue his career with the Texas Department of Public Safety and was hired in 1986.  After recruit school he spent two years in Kaufman County, Texas.  A highway patrol position was opened for him in Sherman where he spent the next nine years before he started testing to become a Texas Ranger.  He was promoted to a Texas Ranger in 1995, where he was first stationed in Hunt County.
    When former Texas Ranger and Grayson County Rotarian Johnny Waldrip retired in 1996, Tony returned to Sherman where he served as a Texas Ranger for the next eleven years.  He was promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to Tyler, Texas, where he spent the next four years.  He then made Captain and spent a year in Austin, Texas.  Tony was then promoted to Major and transferred at west to Lubbock.  He fell in love with Lubbock where he planned to retire one day, however, he admitted that he didn't factor in grandkids.  
    So about the time his oldest daughter had their first grandchild the Major in Dallas retired.  Tony took a command of Company B in Garland which just so happened to be the same one he got started with.
    Tony claims he has had a blessed life.  He is extremely blessed to be a part of the Grayson County Sheriff's Office.  He is extremely blessed to be back home again to serve the community he loves.  Welcome back home Tony!
Jud Rex - Denison City Manager
    Matt Henley, City of Denison mayor pro tem was scheduled to talk about the City of Denison and what they were doing, however, he was just the front man this time around.  He introduced Jud Rex, Denison's City Manager. 
    Jud was hired in January 2015 as the assistant city manager, but that didn't last long.  On May 9, 2015, he was appointed as the Interim City Manager.  Since Jud did so many incredible things for Denison, they quickly removed "Interim" from his title and made him their City Manager.  Before coming to Denison, Jud had been the Town Manager of Strasburg, Virginia, since July 2010.
    Jud was very appreciative of his reception by everyone in Denison and Grayson County.  He was very complimentary of Denison's city council.  One thing Jud pointed out was how Grayson County and Denison in particular had so much rich history with all their landmarks, buildings and famous people including President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  He added that many cities either hold on to their past and want to remain living in the late 1800's, or they forget about their past and just build on the future.  Grayson County and Denison, unlike most, not only recognize their wonderful heritage, but also move on to the future looking for great opportunities to come.  Jud said it is great how well Sherman and Denison work together.  
    Jud's first topic was the new Texoma Health Foundation Park.  Although it is located in Denison west of U.S. Hwy 75 at the Spur 503 Exchange, it will be a regional attraction for everyone.  Texoma Health Foundation is funding $8 million towards the park.  Gateway Village developer Tom Johnson is donating $3 million is services by putting in the roads, trails and all of the site work.  The City of Denison is picking up the tab for the remaining $3 million.  Groundbreaking will be September 9, 2016, at 9:00 a.m.
    The park will have five field baseball/softball complex.  The baseball infields will have artificial turf.  It will have a large pavilion with a concession stand and playground built within it.  There will be another playground with a splash pad, spray park, sand volleyball courts, and soccer/multi-use fields.  Initially, there will be 2.5 miles of 12 feet wide, concrete walking trails.  Along the trails will be some exercise stations built in as well.
    The streets in Denison have been getting improvements, too.  Denison will continue to budget funds in order to bring the City's streets up to par.  There isn't any one answer to the street issue but recently had every street surveyed and rated so they know where to start first and what to do.  
    Denison has three incentivized housing programs.  One is their affordable housing program where they give vacant lots in the older part of town, away to builders to build affordable homes on.  The homes are in the $100,000 range.  
    Another program allows builders to receive a three year city tax rebate on single family homes built outside the affordable home program or in other areas that are incentivized.  This includes the new Gateway Village Development.  The also receive reduced building permit fees and free trash collection.
    Construction has already begun on a 180-unit apartment complex located just behind the Hilton Garden Inn.  This is Denison's first market grade apartment complex in about thirty years.
    There are three single-family neighborhoods under construction in Gateway Village.  They will be named Saddle Creek, Greenway Parks and Fawn Meadow.
Dorothy McKee - The Sherman Museum
    Dorothy McKee has been volunteering and serving the Sherman community since 1977.  She currently serves on the board of directors for the Sherman Museum.  Dorothy was involved in the formation of Grand Central Station in 2010.  She was the Director of Health Services at Austin College for 13 years.
    Dorothy emphasized that the Sherman Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Sherman.  She noted they have recently adopted dinosaurs as one of their subjects, so the museum is more than just Sherman history.  This new addition has been very popular with families who have smaller children.
    The city of Sherman began the museum in 1976, as part of their bi-centennial project.  They city maintained ownership of the building and collections for many years.  
    The first museum director, Norma English, was a professional.  This was key in getting the museum off to a good start and kept everything moving in a positive direction.  The storage, the marking, and keeping track of the artifacts were all handled very well by Mrs. English.  When Dorothy starting volunteering in 1977, this became her duty.
    Dorothy said a group would go weekly to the museum to "catalog" the items.  Cataloging required them to mark each item and write it in a book.  They would note who they were from, who donated them and any history related to the items.  That collection has now grown to over 55,000 items.
    A volunteer group formed "The Friends of the Sherman Museum" organization.  It was known then as the Sherman Historical Museum.  Through the years the name changed to the Red River Historical Museum.  In 2005, they received ownership of the building along with the collection to take care of.  They then became a board of trustees.
    They museum has two buildings now, the second of which was the former Walnut Street Church of Christ.  Most of the activity occurs in the Carnegie Library building which was built in 1914.  A woman by the name of Maddie Davis Lucas, whose family was very prominent in early Sherman and whose descendants are still here today, was a part of the Sherman Civic League.  The Sherman Civic League organized fundraising to match Andrew Carnegie's contribution to build a library.
    Both buildings became a recorded Texas Historical Landmark in 1986.  In 1990, the Carnegie building was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
    One of the things that allowed the museum to gain those designations are three pieces of artwork (murals) done by Texas artist James Swann.  The three oil on wood paintings are the only examples of WPA (Works Progress Administration) art in Grayson County.  A lot of that art, as well as buildings, has been destroyed from that period.  These three pieces of art represent paintings, music and literature.  They are Grecian figures because at the time Sherman was known as the "Athens of Texas".
    Over the years, the museum has had professional and non-professional curators, but they have always taken good care of everything.  In 2011, they were able to hire current professional director, Dan Steelman.  Dorothy added that Mr. Steelman has done exactly what the board wanted.  In addition to taking good care of the collection he has increased awareness of the Sherman museum locally and across the state.  He is also president of the North Texas Museum Association. 
    Dan got the idea for what has become the museum's most popular exhibit, Dino Days.  It is a two month period during the summer when they are able to rent molds of dinosaurs and put them together for display.  This summer they even had a full-size T-Rex!  During the two months it was here they had over 3,000 visitors which represented 123 different zip codes from 21 different states.
    Dorothy added that the museum is much more than just about dinosaurs.  One of their permanent displays is a wall that gives the history of Grayson County.  Another wall tells the story of Olive Oatman Fairchild.
    Olive Oatman was captured by the Comanches and then traded to the Mojave Indians who tattooed her chin.  When she gained freedom from captivity she did a tour of the United States.  During that time she met John Fairchild who just happened to be from Sherman.  He brought Olive back to Sherman where they lived the rest of their lives.  Olive always wore of veil over the bottom half of her face because she was embarrassed of the tattoo.  Olive died of a heart attack on March 20, 1903, at the age of 65.  She is buried at the West Hill Cemetery in Sherman.
    The museum's major fundraiser "History Comes Alive In West Hill Cemetery", will be held on September 24th.  Although it is an unusual place to hold a fundraiser, they do so because this is where all the historical figures are located.  They teach history by visiting the various grave sites.  This year's event will be held on Sixth Street and Seventh Street.  Those two streets alone have the seven or eight people they will be honoring this year.
Bill Dendy - Rotary District 5810 Governor 2016-17
    Bill Dendy, Rotary International District 5810 Governor, made his official club visit last week.  Bill said he was very grateful to be at our club and see everyone cutting up with each other and having a good time.  It reminded him of the whole reason we are a part of Rotary.  One of the biggest reasons is the fellowship.  No matter how bad it gets out there, we can all come together, have a good time and then go out and do good together.  
    Bill complemented our club saying he sees that it is natural for us to have a good and notices all the great things that we do.  Unfortunately, there are clubs out there that have forgotten how to have a good time.  
    The 2016-17 Rotary year is going to be a great one.  There are a lot of great things planned out for the coming year.  One, the Rotary Foundation turns 100 years old.  They have done many great things over the past 100 years and they continue to do more and more.  The Rotary Foundation is recognized as one of the top five foundations in the world.  One reason is because the money always goes where it's suppose to go.  This is easy because Rotarians are on both sides of the equation. Another is its peace initiative which is especially important in this day and time.  
    Just recently, we had gone nine weeks without a single case of Polio being reported anywhere in the world.  There were two cases reported last week in Nigeria.  However, the good news is, we have never had a period of time since the 1950's with this low of a reporting of Polio cases.  When Rotary took on this project in the 1980's there were 1,000 cases  week being reported.  
    Growing up he said he always remembered seeing Rotary emblems in different cities around Texas when they would go on family vacations.  He always figured they did good things but never really knew.  One day, while in college, he met a student who had received a Rotary scholarship.  He quickly learned that Rotary does a lot of good.
    Governor Dendy talked about the time when we was introduced to Rotary about 20 years ago.  He said he thought you had to be a dignitary of some kind in order to be in Rotary.  One day he was invited to visit the Rotary Club of Dallas.  He was soon invited to join and got involved right from the start.
    Bill excitedly announced that Rotary's International Convention returns to the U.S. this year.  It will be in Atlanta, Georgia, in June 2017.  There will be between 30 and 40 thousand Rotarians from all over the world there.  He spoke about how magnificent the opening ceremonies are when they parade in all of the flags from around the world in which Rotary exists.   
    Bill is asking all of the Rotary Clubs in District 5810 to decide on how they would like to show off their club and he will have a professional videographer record their club.  It can be a service project, a fundraising event, a social event, or anything they wish that will show off their club.  Bill shared the Fair Park Rotary Club video.  It highlights their service project they do every year during the State Fair of Texas, where Rotarians volunteer at the Texas Discovery Gardens.  There are about twenty clubs so far that have had videos made.  They are all available on the District's much improved website,
    District 5810's District Conference will be held April 23-30, 2017.  It will be aboard the Royal Caribbean "Liberty of the Seas" ship.  It will embark out of Galveston.  Ports of call include Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica.  Service projects will be available in Cozumel and Falmouth for those who want to help.  For more information, visit or ask Cindy Brandt or Terry Everett.
Audrey Legg & Tyler Davis - Camp RYLA
    Audrey Legg and Tyler Davis just recently returned from Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award).  Audrey will be a senior at Texoma Christian School and Tyler will be a senior at Wylie East High School.  
    Audrey was very thankful for sponsoring her to attend Camp RYLA.  She said, "It really was one of the best experiences of my life and I definitely never will forget it."
    The best part for her about Camp RYLA was the people she met.  Audrey's cabin mates became more than just new friends.  In six short days they became a family.  Camp was held August 1-6.  Since leaving Camp they have already reunited and are planning another get together soon.
    There were many challenges during the week.  With everyone being a leader they all had to learn that they couldn't lead all the time but learned that  knowing when to follow was also a good characteristic of being a leader.
     Audrey learned many things while at Camp.  She learned that it doesn't matter what other people think of her.  Stepping out of her comfort zone is really a great thing.  She learned that people have different personality types and how to deal with that.  The ideal community is possible with like minded people. 
    Jerry Traylor was one of the speakers at Camp RYLA.  Jerry has cerebral palsey and has walked with crutches his entire life.  One day Jerry decided he wanted to run marathons.  Not only did he run marathons but he also ran from California to New York.  His story of running conveyed that you can do anything if you have the vision.  Continue to chase your dreams and don't let anyone drag you down along the way.  Make plans, not excuses.  Be a participant and not just an observer.
    On their last night at Camp, Audrey said everyone in her cabin cried because nobody wanted to leave.  
    Tyler wasn't able to be at our club so he sent a video.  Tyler was very thankful to Grayson Rotary for sponsoring him to attend Camp RYLA.  He said he learned a lot, had a great time and met tons of new people.
    One of the things he learned at Camp RYLA was to plan things before you execute them.  Tyler said he learned that you learns things from failure, not success.  He learned to persevere and never give up. 
    Tyler said he will grow and benefit from his experience at Camp RYLA for the rest of his life.  He added that if he is able to apply what he learned at Camp RYLA in the workplace and through school, and make good grades then he can accomplish his dreams of being a director for movies. He slyly noted, "I think that I really will be able to direct Star Wars Episode 26."
    Tyler said he would love to go back to Camp next year and be an assistant counselor.  Although it would be in a different circumstance, he will still be able to participate and be a part of the experience again.
Dr. David Hicks - Sherman ISD's Future
    Dr. David Hicks, Sherman ISD superintendent, returned to share information on where the school district is headed and what they are doing now.  Accompanying him was Dr. Tyson Bennet, assistant superintendent  for Academic and Student Services and Emily Parks, Director of Communications.
    Dr. Hicks thanked the Grayson Rotary Club for all they do in the community, with their recent school supply drive and everything they do to help kids get ready for school.  It is that time.  Some students are already back, including the band, football team, volleyball team and tennis team.  
    Two big events are on the horizon for Sherman ISD.  The first is the upcoming Tax Ratification Election (TRE) on August 27th.   It's purpose is to leverage additional funding in maintenance and operations and address the District’s strategic plan, without raising taxes.
    The Texas Legislature cut funding for public schools by $5.4 billion in 2011. Locally, Sherman ISD has maintained a fiscally conservative approach to financial planning with action by the trustees over the last eight years that has directly reduced the cost of long term debt obligations by more than $28.1 million. The Tax Ratification Election will continue this conservative focus by allowing the District to increase maintenance and operations revenue while simultaneously decreasing interest and sinking revenue, all without raising the tax rate. 
    The additional funding that will be available to Sherman ISD as a result of the TRE is revenue that has been generated through local property taxes but currently remains in Austin.  Bottom Line:  Sherman ISD gets to keep our tax dollars here where it belongs.
    This means the Sherman school district will get to keep an additional $4 million with no tax increase!  This funding will allow the district to address three community-endorsed strategic planning goals:  recruit and retain the very best teachers and staff, provide robust technology resources and infrastructure for learning, and increase college and career readiness for all students.
    A TRE election is required when a school district raises the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) tax rate above the rollback rate of $1.04. Voters will vote “for” or “against” approving a “tax swap” – increasing the M&O tax rate to $1.17 per $100 of valuation for the current year compared to $1.04 this past year. In order to prevent an overall tax rate increase, the SISD trustees have already approved lowering the Interest and Sinking (I&S) tax rate by 13 cents should voters approve the TRE proposition.
    The M&O tax funds school district expenses such as salaries, instructional programs, supplies and utilities. The I&S tax funds long-term debt from school district construction projects. State law prohibits the combination of funds so bond money allocated to the construction of new schools, for example, cannot be used to offset the state cuts to Sherman ISD’s M&O funds.
    One word of caution.  The ballot will show a tax rate of $1.57. The current tax rate is $1.44.  Legally, they are required to word the ballot to show the $.13 increase in the M&O rate, for a total tax rate of $1.57. However, the school board adopted a resolution June 2, 2016 to lower the I&S rate to $.27 should the TRE pass, for a total tax rate of $1.44, which is equal to the current tax rate.  Visit for more information.
    Once the Tax Ratification Election is over we will begin hearing about a bond election to be held in May 2017.  The Sherman school district is going to have to start planning for the future.  This will require them to look at many things including renovations, a new stadium, a new high school, etc.  How do they prepare for the future growth?  There are many, many things to consider before taking suggestions to the board of trustees in January who will determine whether to hold a bond election in May.
Anna Hicks - Director of Career Pathways & Initiatives for Grayson College
    Anna Hicks is the Director of Career Pathways and Initiatives for the Workplace Learning Center at Grayson College.  She said the long title means she gets to do just about anything asked to do.  
    Anna works on many different projects including one she is very excited about, the Middle Skills Project.  The key players include Sherman Economic Development Corporation, Denison Development Alliance, Workforce Solutions Texoma and Grayson College.  The goal of this project is to develop a talent pipeline of middle skills workers for advanced manufacturing and healthcare occupations in the Texoma region.  The average age of manufacturing workers in the country today are in their 60’s.  There isn’t a generation follow them.
    “Middle skill jobs are those that require more education and training than a high-school diploma but less that a four-year college degree, pay competitive wagers, and offer a tangible career path.”  Businesses are beginning to worry about the ability to grow and compete beause they cannot find workers with the right skills.  Manufacturing businesses could decide not to locate in the Sherman area if they don’t think there are enough qualified employees.
    With this project, Anna said they are able to take it to the schools and offer dual credit courses for students starting in the 10th grade.  Most dual credit courses don’t start until the 11th grade.  By the time the student graduates they will have completed one college certificate and one national certificate in manufacturing.  The only thing left to do at this point is a summer internship.
    Sherman and Denison high schools will start this program in the fall.  The first courses offered are “Technical Calculations” and “Precision Tools and Measurements.”  Starting next year they will have the capability to broadcast these classes into the school.  This will help with the smaller schools who might only have a few students interested but not enough to have a teacher teach the class.
    The classes are taken to the high school for the first year since most sophomores are only 15 and not able to drive.  Juniors and seniors will attend classes at the college due to the expense of all the machines required for training.  
    After graduation the student will complete one mini-mester class before their paid internship in the summer.  Once they have done this, they will receive their second certificate from the college.
    Hopefully, they will then be hired by the company they interned with.  If not, they now have their certificate and experience to seek employment at another plant.
    Anna said they are talking to everyone including kids and parents, educating them how the middle skills are different today compared to years past.  They also hold workshops where kids can get a hands-on feel.
    They have welding simulators that measures movement and allows them to simulate welding in different environments.  It is like a video game. Another hands-on project allows them to pour hot lead into molds to simulate die-casting.
    SEDCO and DDA will pick up the fees for any student taking these dual course classes.  Area plants will do the same for students in smaller schools where towns may not have an economic development board to fund it.
Dr. Fred Freeman & Anthony Nelson - SCP's 68th Season
    Magnifico!  Grayson Rotary has talent!  Everything was business as usual until the song.  Dr. Fred Freeman performed a glorious rendition of the Star Spangled Banner as we all sang along.  It’s was awesome!  He then played “Happy Birthday” as we all sang to Mike Waterman who celebrated his 80th birthday on July 22nd.
    Dr. Freeman will serve as Sherman Community Players’ Board President starting in September.  He emphasized there is always something going on at the theater.  There are twelve months of activity.  It is never dark.
    Theatricks stages three productions a year.  They also offer workshops twice a year plus have a traveling show that takes their show on the road to area schools throughout the year.  
    Main Stage recently closed their 2015-16 Season with the musical “Annie Get Your Gun.”  Main Stage produces five shows a year plus their annual fundraiser.  This year’s fundraiser is “A Grand Night For Singing.”  It open on August 5th.
    Artistic Director Anthony Nelson shared a little history of SCP.  It is the third oldest community theater in Texas. They began in 1926.  They were dark during the Great Depression and World War II.  The started back up in the 50’s.
    Before Anthony previewed SCP’s upcoming 68th Season, Dr. Freeman played a short rendition of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”  Lisa Hebert added to the entertainment with her beautiful voice as she sang along.
    Anthony gave a preview of what we can expect for Sherman Community Players 68th Season.  Theatricks will open the 2016-17 Season on September 8th with the musical “The Little Mermaid.”  In March, they will stage “Robin Hood,” an original adaption by Theatricks’ Director Webster Crocker.  They will close their season next July with “Peter Rabbit And His Friends.”
    Main Stage will open their season in October with the third in a series of “Tuna” productions called “Red, White & Tuna.”  “Greater Tuna” and “Christmas Tuna” have both been done before on the Finley stage.  Darrah Dunn will return to perform his many roles and Aaron Adair will co-star.
    In December we will see “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”  They are considering “White Christmas” for December 2017.
    “A Trip To Bountiful” will open in February. It will be directed by Darrah Dunn.
    In April, we will see a western  “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”  Anthony said he is very excited about this play because he has always wanted to direct a western.  Gil Nelson will be the assistant director.
    SCP will close out their 68th season with the summer musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.”  Anthony added that he is very inspired to direct this musical.  It is a story about the last seven days of Jesus’ life as seen through the eyes of Judas.  
    For tickets or more information on their upcoming season, please visit their website at
David Plyler - Sherman Mayor
    There were lots of firsts last week.  Although it was officially our second week on the new fiscal year, it was our first week of the year to have a speaker.  That speaker was first term, first year Sherman mayor David Plyler.  It also just happened to be his first speaking engagement as Sherman mayor in front of a service organization.  
    The Mayor began by thanking Police Chief Otis Henry and all law enforcement for the work they do.  He encouraged everyone to support them as well.
    Mr. Plyler reported one of the projects the city has began working on is the water treatment plant.  This is going to allow the city to sell water to cities south of Sherman.  The city has budgeted more money for transportation next year than any recent years.
    Some of the areas they are going to work on is the entrance to Sam's.  They are going to line that up with Gallagher Drive to ease the congestion at that intersection.  This improvement will also result in widening Loy Lake Road.  David pointed out that there was a recent accident involving a construction crew but thankfully everyone is going to be okay.  He asked that we utilize extra caution around construction zones.  He also emphasized that they will suspend construction during the Christmas holidays.
    The Mayor reflected on the increased activity in downtown Sherman.  More and more people are beginning to visit downtown Sherman due to some new restaurants and shops opening their doors for business.  David also added he has noticed a new phenomenon.  Lots of people are walking around while watching their cell phones.  
    This is the result of a just released (July 2016), new game called Pokemon Go.  It is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality mobile game you can download onto your smart phone.  The game allows players to capture, battle and train virtual creatures, called Pokemon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.
    The city has reached an agreement to purchase 26 acres of land for a new sports field expansion to Pecan Grove West Park.  The land is north of Carriage House Estates subdivision, west of Shady Oaks Lane and adjacent to Pecan Grove West Park.  It will be home to four multi-use baseball/softball fields on the west side, a 425 parking lot on the east side and four multi-use soccer fields in the middle, with a biking and hiking trail on the outside perimeter of the park.  It is estimated that the ball field layout will cost the city between $6 million and $9 million and take about two years to build.  They spent about $4 million on Old Settler's Park nearly 20 years ago.  The public is invited to their meetings for input.
    Speaking of firsts, Sherman will have a new first in the not too distant future.  Sherman has plans to install a roundabout on the west end of Taylor Street between Grant and FM 1417.  This is the most efficient way direct traffic as they are going to move Taylor over to connect with Washington Street.  We will eventually see a four-lane divided street extend over to Hwy. 289.
Cindy Brandt - Looking Ahead To Our 30th Year
    While our incoming club president Cindy Brandt is thinking about Rotary and planning what she wants to say in her upcoming address to the club; and while immediate past president Becky Burtner is unsuccessfully trying to put Rotary thoughts behind her knowing she had a very good year and wants to sleep-in for a change; David Bayless, along with his family and FastPasses in hand, is experiencing all the magic the mouse kingdom has to offer. However . . . David as usual was thinking outside the clubhouse box.  
    As we approach a third consecutive tiara-wearing club leader, Mr. Bayless recognized an even greater power of presidential portrayal.  Preempting Cindy's presidential address, David presented Cindy and Becky with the ultimate head dress - a pair of Minnie Mouse ears.  
    Charlie Chaplin said, "A day without laughter is a day wasted."  Wednesday mornings with all the great members of the Rotary Club of Grayson County will never, ever waste a day.
    In addition to her duties as club president, Cindy will also be an assistant district governor for the next three years.  Grayson Rotary will be one of her clubs.  District Governor Bill Dendy will make his official club visit on Wednesday, August 10th.  
    The Flag Lease Program has a new set of ring leaders and they have already been fully engaged.  Shane Pruitt and John & Trisha Mabary are the go to's regarding flags.
    Becky plans on having monthly service project opportunities for us all to be involved in.  We will continue with the SHARE program, the foster parent's appreciation dinner and Veteran's Day blood drive.  
    Cindy encourages everyone to become involved in a Rotary Action Group or Fellowship Group.  Action Groups include blood donation, literacy, peace, etc.  There are many Rotary Fellowships including groups for beer, bird watching, cooking, fishing, flying, golf, internet, lawyers, magicians, music, photography, police & law enforcement, scouting, shooting sports, singles, skiiing, tennis, traveling, wine, etc.
    David Cortinas will be in charge of all Foundation programs.  $25 per quarter, of each member's dues will go to PolioPlus.  We will also continue our support of the Guatemala Literacy Program.  
    Everyone is encouraged to become a Paul Harris Fellow.  This recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute or have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation.  Each additional $1,000 is also recognized.  You can also become a Paul Harris Society member by donating $1,000 per year(~$85/month).
    The District Conference will be April 23-30, 2017.  It will be aboard a Royal Carribbean cruise ship with a medical service project stop in Cozumel, a fun stop in Grand Cayman and an educational service project stop in Jamaica.  Costs start at $500 per person.
    Francis Campbell and Stacy Braddock will continue with fundraising opportunities.  Francis has already scheduled some days with Dickie's BBQ.  The first one is today, July 13th.  Stacy is working on a Skeet Shoot fundraiser for later in the year.  We will continue with our Nut Sales this fall.
    In June 2017, we will have a joint social with Wilson N Jones at the Finley Theater.  The show will be "Jesus Christ Superstar."
    Our Scholarship fund presently supports eight recipients.  Lisa Hebert will chair this committee.
    Edwin Clark is our New Generations chair.  This committee oversees all youth related activities.  He will be in charge of selecting Camp RYLA students for next year.  Bob Cape and Jean Sorensen will be our Rotaract liaisons for Austin College and Grayson College respectively.  Kate Whitfield will mentor the Interact clubs.
    Oh, and one last thing. Introduce someone to Rotary and bring them to a meeting.  "Rotary Serving Humanity"
Grayson Rotary's 30th Officer Installation Ceremony
       Another milestone has been reached for the Rotary Club of Grayson County.  We have our first 2nd term Club President.  Cindy Brandt will lead us in our 30th year.  The club will officially turn 30 on June 23, 2017.  Cindy first served as Club President in 2010-2011.
    Installation duties were performed by past president Lisa Hebert (2014-15).  She prefaced the installation of officers with a little information about Rotary.
    Jim Walker was installed at the Club’s president-elect.  He has previously served as club treasurer and was very instrumental in helping get our scholarship foundation set up as a 501(c)(3) organization.
    Escaping off to Coronado Island didn’t work after all. I understand that although I wasn’t there in person I shall continue on into my 7th year as Club Secretary.  And as I make up this story about what happened during officer installations it looks like I will continue my 21st year as bulletarian (bulletin editor) and PR chair.
    Although Steve Ramsey missed a couple meetings to take his family on a well deserved vacation, he returned just in time to be installed as the club’s treasurer for the fourth time. Rumor has it that he will be stepping up his commitment in the near future, but don’t tell anyone and please don’t say anything to Steve.
    Larry Campbell tried leaving the country and even switched condos in Grand Cayman but when he returns he will still be responsible for preparing the club for meetings.  He will also maintain, or at least try to maintain, the club’s decorum.
    In addition to her presidential duties, Cindy will continue her sixth year as the club’s administrator.  She will work with Terry to make sure we do everything we can to qualify for this year’s presidential citation.
    After nine years of serving as the club’s Foundation chair Steven Avard has stepped aside.  David Cortinas will begin his reign as Foundation chair.  He will make sure all monies and reports are filed with the Rotary Foundation.  
    David will also oversee RILI (Rotary International Leadership Institute) for our club and encourage members to attend.  He is a RILI facilitator.
    Norman Gordon will serve a second term as Membership chair.  He will encourage members to become more involved in club activities and to invite potential members.
    Becky Burtner will now proudly replace the presidential tiara for a P.P. pin.   As the club’s past-president she will also oversee our service projects.  She hopes to have one service project per month.
    The Flag Lease program has some new faces . . . and muscle.  John Mabary and Shane Pruitt have already been very involved. They took over earlier this year and have installed many sleeves.  John’s wife, Trisha, has taken over responsibilities for maintaining the database.  Now THAT is Service Above Self!  Thank you Trish!
    Stacy Braddock and Francis Campbell will continue a second term as co-chairs of fundraising.  We already have our first scholarship fundraiser set for July 13th.  
    Edwin Clark will be in charge of New Generations, which includes all our the youth programs including Camp RYLA, Rotaract and Intereact.
    Jean Sorensen and Bob Cape will oversee Rotaract at Grayson College and Austin College.  Kate Whitfield will be in charge of Interact.  She will re-establish Interact at Sherman High School and continue helping with the S&S Interact Club we co-sponsored 4 years ago.
Karl Weizenbach - Sherman-Denison MPO Director
     Karl Welzenbach is the director for the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization (SDMPO).  He has 22 years of experience in the field of transportation planning. Karl has worked for three different MPO's in three different states, Illinois, Florida and now Texas.
    The SDMPO is responsible for the planning and programming of all federal and state transportation funds for the Cities of Sherman, Denison, Pottsboro, Howe, Van Alstyne, and Gunter as well as a major portion of Grayson County. The SDMPO is the primary forum within which local governments and citizens voice concerns, identify priorities, and plan for improvements to all modes of transportation – roadway, bus, rail, airline, bicycle and pedestrian.
    MPOs were introduced by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area (UZA) with a population greater than 50,000. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this planning process. Congress created MPOs in order to ensure that existing and future expenditures of governmental funds for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (“3‑C”) planning process.
    The three main products of the MPO are the Long Range Transportation Plan (20+ years), officially known as the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), the 4-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The  first two documents list the planned (MTP) and the approved (TIP) allocations of federal funds within the boundary of the Sherman - Denison MPO. The third document - the Unified Planning Work Program - identifies which planning efforts the Sherman-Denison MPO intends to undertake over a two-year period.  The current Metropolitan Transportation Plan was submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation and US DOT in December 2004.
    In 2014 and 2015, the voters of Texas approved Proposition 1 and Proposition 7 respectively which allocated a portion of the state tax on oil and gas drilling to the transportation trust fund.  Prop 1 allocates a portion of the state tax on oil and gas extraction to the transportation trust fund.  Prop 7 will allocate (beginning in 2018) a portion of the state sales tax to the transportation trust fund.
    There are three primary products produced by this process: the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), and the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).  These three documents are interrelated, with each of the resulting products being a critical component of the other two products.  The MTP provides the plan for the region’s transportation needs, the TIP implements the projects and programs of the MTP, and the UPWP outlines the tasks necessary for the development of the MTP and the TIP.  The development of all three products is conducted in accordance with the MPO’s adopted Public Involvement Plan and each is approved by the MPO’s governing body called theTransportation Policy Board (TPB). 
    Karl said it typically takes about seven years from time a project is identified to the time it takes to begin the project. Local projects include the widening of FM 1417, FM 1417 & 691, Travis Street over to FM 131, Highway 121 near Van Alstyne over to Highway 5, and portions oh Hwy. 289.  They are working with TXDOT's Paris District on a master plan for U.S. Highway 75 from County Line to State Line.  It should eventually become a six lane highway and it will include the Hwy 75 & Hwy 82 interchange.
President Becky Burtner, Steve Avard & John Mabary
    Club President Becky Burtner admiited that Sherman Community Players’ theatrical production of Annie Get Your Gun was more enjoyable than anticiapted.  Although the play ran later than her usual bedtime, she was NOT about to leave at intermission because the show was just too good!  
    Becky resported that the club received a thank you card from Children’s Express for our donation helping them provide bags of healthy food for local children.  Last week they distributed 170 bags of food.
    The Club received an invitation from the Child & Family Guidance Center celebrating 50 years on June 7th.  Although the invitation came a little late, we were represented by Brian Gary and Kate Whitfield.
    Becky announced the recent passing of Dr. Wendell Hubbard.  He was a past member of our club and past Sherman ISD superintendent, passed.  The Grayson County Scholarship Fund was originally established in honor of Dr. Hubbard’s parents upon his retirement from Sherman ISD and his wife, Marjorie’s retirement from Grayson College.  
    Lyle and Sandi Froese made a donation to the scholarship fund in memory of Dr. Hubbard.  Lyle was our club’s charter president and Sandi was the club’s first woman president.
    Club Foundation chair Steven Avard reported Rotary International awarded a $464,292.00 grant to the Guatemala Literacy Project.  Grayson Rotary is one of 106 clubs who contribute to the GLP.  Grayson Rotary is one of the top contributors.  We give $2,500 annually to the project.  Steven & Bonnie Avard and Larry & Sandy Campbell have gone on some of the tours to help deliver books.
    John Mabary informed everyone they will soon be hearing about some new rules that will apply to your retirement plans which include 401K’s, 403B’s, 457’s, IRA’s, SEP IRA’s, all retirement plans.  Congress passed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2009.  The Act's intentions are to provide rigorous standards and supervision to protect the economy and American consumers, investors and businesses; end taxpayer-funded bailouts of financial institutions; provide for an advanced warning system on the stability of the economy; create new rules on executive compensation and corporate governance; and eliminate certain loopholes that led to the 2008 economic recession.    
    It also mandates a fiduciary standard for retirement plans.  Whoever is handling your retirement account must now act as a fiduciary on your behalf.
    The Department of Labor (DOL) who has jurisdiction over retirement accounts, are implementing these changes.  The studied these changes for about three years before publishing a 128 page document four years ago. They were going to allow the financial industry six months to give feedback.  Well, it didn’t last two weeks before the DOL trashed their recommendations.  About a year later they came out with Version II, which is about 156 pages of proposed regulations, however, it didn’t last six months either.  It only lasted about 4 weeks before they scrapped that proposal.
    Last year they came out with Version III, which is 258 pages long.  Although it lasted six months there are still several issues to fix.  
    One problem affects Fidelity and Vanguard, the two largest providers of 401K’s in the country.  If the new regulations were adopted as proposed they would be out of business within 24 hours. 
    The final regulations came out about 11 weeks ago.  It is 1,023 pages long.  So far they have found 22 contradictions.  They are trying to get clarifications on how to proceed before they start advising their clients.  John said they always want to do what is best for the client.  John added he will keep us updated along the way.
Rusty Weatherly - Culinary Arts School at Grayson College
    There are a lot of good things coming out of the Culinary Arts School at Grayson College.  The food is quite delectable. The service is impeccable. The most sought after commodity, however, are the graduates.
    Rusty Weatherly, Director of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts at Grayson County College, pointed out they have graduated 45 students with an Associates of Applied Science in Culinary Arts degree in the five-and-a-half years they have offered the program.  The classes continue to grow as this past May they graduated 11 new students.
    The best part is when they graduate, and usually before, they already have job somewhere.  About sixty percent of them stay in the local area.
    The Choctaw and WInstar Casinos employ some of the graduates. One student works at the Omni in Dallas.  One is employed at the "W" in downtown Dallas.  One graduate works at the Polynesian Resort at Disney World.  One student is interviewing with Carnival Cruise Lines.  One of the chef's that works for TJ LaRosa at Fulbelli's is also a Grayson Culinary graduate.
    Rusty said they are very involved with the high schools.  Just recently, he spoke to all 518 eighth graders at Piner Middle School.  Cassie Davidson, executive chef for Sherman ISD is another graduate from Grayson.
    With tuition costs at low community college prices, training is very affordable.  Rusty noted that college tuition has increased 1,014% over the past 20 years.  It cost about $1,300 a semester at Grayson College for tuition and fees compared to North Texas where it costs $4,700 for the same classes.  By the year 2020, sixty-five percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require some kind of college education.
    Classes continue to grow.  There are thirty-nine new students already enrolled for the Fall semester.  
    They will start serving lunch again on Wednesdays and Fridays in September.  Everyone is invited, however, Rusty highly recommends making reservations.  It only cost $10.00 for everything.  If you just show up, Rusty will try his best to get you seated, but it is best to call ahead so you won't be disappointed.
    In addition to their classes, Rusty said they are very involved in the community as well.  They help with the local soup kitchen, the food bank and the Boot Scootin' Ball.
    Rusty, in the sense any father will brag on his kids when they do something extraordinary, proudly expressed his appreciative heart to being invited to participate in the annual Sky Ball in Dallas three years ago.  Sky Ball is a fundraising event Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine puts on every year for his Wounded Warrior Project.  
    Along with four other groups, Grayson Culinary was invited to participate in this very prestigious event.  Last year, Grayson Culinary was the only group invited to participate.  Grayson Culinary was again invited to participate this year.  The best part, is the students get to work with Chef Robert Irvine.  While working the Skyball Gala, they serve a meal to 3,500 people.
    During the 2017-2018 school year, they are going to add "meetings and catering" to their curriculum.  They currently host meetings and events at the Culinary Arts Center.  For more information contact Mr. Weatherly at 903-415-2605.
Jonathan Cannon - Herald Democrat Editor
    Jonathan Cannon became the editor of the Herald Democrat in September 2013.  He isn’t new to the world of journalism however, as we was a report for the paper three-and-a-half years prior to becoming its editor.
    Jonathan proclaims that he isn’t a morning person or a public speaker even though he was ready to go at 7:00 a.m. Not only was he at our club’s meeting bright and early, he even brought his lovely wife, Kimberly.
    Mr. Cannon immediately assured everyone that the Herald Democrat is NOT going away anytime soon.  Millions of people around the world still like to see ink on paper.  
    Although technology has made it more of a challenge, the Herald Democrat is advancing right along with the changes.  It has also changed the way reporters tell their stories.  
    More and more people today read the news right off their cell phones.  They use their phones more than their computers.   
    When writing an article reporters have always been limited to how much they can report due to the limited space in a newspaper.  Many times they can’t add a picture.  With everything moving to the internet, reporters can now elaborate or give more indepth information.  Plus, they can publish lots of pictures.  With the presence of the two mediums, reporters will write a story for the printed newspaper and then tell a lot more with the online version.  
    The Herald Democrat is in the process of adding an online, interactive newspaper in addition to the printed paper.  Headlines will allow you to click on them and take you to other sources and pictures.  Police and court reports will allow you to click on names and take you to an interactive map.  
    They currently have an online version of the daily newspaper you can read.  This is an added benefit for all print subscribers.  Others can subscribe to it.
    The quality of the writing and the impact of the story are some of the determining factors on what makes the front page.  Jonathan said reader input was also a big help in determining what goes on the front page.  Those who take the time to call or write have the most influence and expressed his appreciation to those taking the time to do so.
    In addition to a thorough coverage of local news from around the Texoma area, you will also see a nice mix of state, U.S. and international news.  The newspaper publishes a little bit of everything from politics to religion to economics to general public interest articles.
    The Herald Democrat is a daily newspaper headquartered in Sherman with a branch office in Denison.  It was created on September 1, 1996, with the merget of the Denison Herald and the Sherman Democrat.  It is the largest newspaper between Dallas-Ft. Worth & Oklahoma City.  
    The Herald Democrat has a circulation of approximately 24,000 Monday through Friday, and about 27,000 on Sunday, according to the Audti Bureau of Circulations.  They do not publish a Saturday paper.
    Subsidiary publications include the Anna-Melissa Tribune, Prosper Press, Van Alstyne Leader, Lake Texoma Life, Grayson County Shopper, Cooke County Shopper, North Collin Shopper, Bryan County Shopper and Marshall/Johnston Counties Shopper.
Adell Wiggins - Lenoir-Sage Winery
    Adell Wiggins claims to be retired, however, it must  only be due to the fact that she doesn’t have to go somewhere and clock in.  She and husband, Michael, own Lenoir-Sage Vineyards in Bells, TX.  
    They got started in the vineyard business fourteen years ago.  About eight-and-a-half years ago they established the winery which includes a tasting room.  The name is derived from the matriarchs of their two joined families.
    Adell shared a story about one of their newest wines labeled “Red Stuff.”  She said about three years ago they needed a sweet, red wine for Grapefest.  Grapefest is an annual wine tasting event held in Grapevine, Texas.  Although they had committted to it, they hadn’t made an appriopriate wine and they were about two months away from the event.  She went out to her winery to see what she had.  She noticed she had a lot of merlots, a lot of moscatos and a lot of sugar. So, she decided to make a blended wine.  Red Stuff is a blending of merlots, moscatos and about 8% sugar. 
    As a result, Red Stuff is the sweetest wine they make.  She only made 5-1/2 cases.  She took four cases with her to Grapefest and left the rest at the winery.  When Adell returned she learned they had sold every bottle over the weekend.  Because of that, she figured it would be a good idea to keep it on the shelf.  
    Her husband is the guilty one for naming the wine, Red Stuff.  He claims that women always remember the fufu names but men only remember the color, hence, Red Stuff.  Adell emphasized that they do not have any “White Stuff” or “Pink Stuff” . . .  yet!
    Adell left Grayson County in 1969, and returned in 1997.  During that time she lived in Europe in the middle of wine country near the Germany border.  She said there was red wine on one side and white on the other.  She drank a lot of wine.  When she returned to the U.S., her intentions were to open a wine store.
    As she began looking into the wine business she met Roy Renfro who was the Viticulture & Enology Director at Grayson College.  Mr. Renfro talked Adell into going through their program.
    While going through the wine classes she changed her mind and decided to grow grapes.  She then decided to make wine.
    They began by making wine in their bedroom.  Adell does not recommend ever doing that because they had a batch of chardonnay blow up on them.  Upon returning home on day they opened the front door and realized what had happened.  As a result, Michael built a place in Bells, Texas, so they could make wine.
    They are involved in the whole wine making process from the crushing to the stemming, all the way to the bottling.  Everything is done by hand and they have a lot of fun.
    Adell educated everyone about the winemaking process and noted, “Wine is not made in the winery. Wine is made out in the vineyard.”  The reason being is it goes by the sugars.  The longer the grapes hand the high the alocohol level.  
    Between July and August Adell is in the vineyards daily measuring the sugar content.  When the right levels are reached they have about four days to pick the grapes.  She said she would like to go all organic, but that won’t happen in the North Texas climate.
Brenda Hayward - Child & Family Guidance Center
    The Rotary Club of Grayson County hosted a visit by Brenda Hayward, executive director of the Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma, as she made a stop on her 2016 Appreciation Tour.  The Child & Family Guidance Center is celebrating 50 years of service.  The center began when Mrs. Alma Powell partnered with Dr. Don Freeman, Dr. Max Woodard, Lloyd Perkins and Patti Castleberry.
    Today, the Center provides outpatient mental health services to over 2,500 families.  Mrs. Hayward said it takes families a lot to call them for help.  It isn't an easy thing to do.  People accessing their services are truly in pain and facing a crisis.  Their lives are clearly not where they need to be. The kids aren't functioning well in school.  The parents aren't functioning.  Some of the kids are being raised by their grandparents.  There are parents who are incarcerated and some who have committed suicide.  There are students who are victims of sexual child abuse and live with foster parents.  
    Brenda added there is a severe shortage of foster parents.  They work with Child Protective Services (CPS) al ot and there are kids are who are taken from the home and placed into conservatorship with the state.  So there are places to put the children here in our county they are sent somewhere else around the state of Texas. 
    "What do we do?", asked Mrs. Hayward.  "We help rebuild lives.  We help provide hope."  
    Their clinical team are all licensed professional counselors.  In able to provide quality, professional services, it cost money.  Half of the Clinic's budget relies on donations, contributions, grants and fund raising.  Five years ago, they started their Starfish Benefit.  This year's event will be held October 1, 2016.   
    The Child & Family Guidance Center is also a Medicaid provider.  This is important because 26.2% of the children in Grayson County live in poverty.  Brenda noted that is a 12% increase since 2005.  She added it is even higher than the state average of 22%.
    The increase in poverty has resulted in an increase in therapy sessions.  In 2005, they provided 3,836 therapy sessions.  Last year, they provided 8,596 sessions.
    Due to the shortage of licensed therapists, Child & Family Guidance has become a licensed training facility for therapists.  Once students have completed their Master's Degree they can get a temporary license from the state of Texas.  At that point, they have to complete 3,000 hours of field experience time.  That takes about 2 years.  Sometimes more.  During the training process, the Clinic is not allowed to charge for their services, so, while the students are gaining experience, the clinic offers their services free of charge to the families.  This is a powerful advantage to the children, the parents, the therapist in training, the clinic, and everyone involved.  
    This year's Starfish Benefit offers many sponsorship opportunities.  There is also a Winner's Choice Raffle where the winner chooses the trip they want to take.  The five choices are: a Disney World Family Adventure ($10,470 value), a Fairmont Chateau Whistler Ski Getaway ($8,006 value), an Escape to San Francisco and Sonoma ($5,910 value), an Aerial Hunting Adventure ($6,940 value), or a New York Long Weekend ($6,152 value).  Tickets are $100.  For more information or to purchase tickets online visit  
Brandy Barnard - DAWG
    I guess you could say that Brandy Barnard has gone to the DAWGs, and she goes quite often . . . to volunteer.  DAWG is an acronym for the Denison Animal Welfare Group.  They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of pets in need.
    The adoption fee for dogs is generally $60.00 which includes spay / neuter surgery and vaccinations [Bordetella and DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)].  Dogs at the DAWG house are also treated for parasites, fleas, ticks and are microchipped.
    Cats have an adoption fee of $50.00.  It includes the spay / neuter surgery, FCVR, feline leukemia, and treatment for all internal and external parasites.
    The city of Denison does not have an animal shelter.  They only operate an impound facility through a private contractor.  
    The DAWG works out of the Southside Fire Station.  They just recently got their new trailer which will allow them to travel around the area and hold adoption events.  
    The DAWG receives no funding from any local, state or federal sources.  They rely on donations from caring, compassionate people and businesses.  They also apply for grants.  There is no paid staff.  All animals are cared for by volunteers.  All funds go to pay for veterinary care and fees associated with animal rescue.  
    They will hold a 5K DAWG Rescue Run and 1M DAWG Dash on June 11th at Waterloo Lake Park.  They will also have on-site adoptions from their new mobile adoption trailer.  For more information about their 5K Rescue Run or if you want to see some of the animals they have ready for adoption, visit their website at 
Duc Nguyen & Eden Llamas - Rome 2016
    Austin College Jan Term 2016 took place in and around Rome, Italy.  There were thirty-four students and three non-students, including Grayson Rotary's Becky Burtner & Bob Cape, who went on the trip.
    Duc Nguyen, senior math major, and Eden Llamas, sophomore biology major, were two of the students who made the three week trip.  They shared their story and some amazing photos of their trip to Rome.
    Duc said it was more meaningful to actually experience the culture than to just learn about it.  All the places they visited were deeply tied to Rome's rich culture and numerous leaders throughout its history.  Duc pointed out that the trip made him realize how ignorant he was about cultures outside of his own.
    The Ara Pacis, also known as the Alter of Peace, was built during a time when wars were resolved. Eden expressed how much more it meant to her by being able to see and walk through it after taking a classical mythical class the precious semester.  She said she never realized how amazing it was until actually being able to see it first hand.  "Reading about it doesn't do it justice," Eden emphasized.
    The Baths of Caracalla were much more than just a place for people to go get clean.  It was also a place for people to socialize.  There were many rooms in The Baths including a cold room, a double pool and a hot room.  They were all part of the process.
    In the Catacombs is a statue of Saint Sebastian.  There is a story of how he died and a statue was built on top of where he is buried.  
    Most of the time in Rome the class was on a schedule.  The last couple of days they were allowed some free time to explore on their own.  One place they visited was Florence and a Duomo.  A Duomo is a term used for an Italian cathedral or church.
    The Roman Forum was Eden's favorite part of the trip.  For centuries it was the center of Roman public life.  It was huge.  It was easy to get lost due to looking up and down and trying to see everything.  Although much of the Forum is missing, there is still a lot to see.  Much of it is buried in the ground.  
    The Gallery of Maps leads up to the Sistine Chapel.  The Gallery of Maps is located on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican containing a series of painted topographical maps of Italy.
    The House of Borghese contains a lot of art.  They didn't get to see much due to the limited opening time.  Luc pointed out that the sculptures were huge.  He added it was apparent how much art meant to them due to the intricacies of each sculpture. The House of Borghese is home to many statues of people we have learned about.
    Their trip to Pompeii was Duc's favorite part.  He shared a picture showing the Temple of Jupiter with Mt. Vesuvius (an active volcano) in the background.  In 62 A.D., an earthquake shook the city of Pompeii, destroying much of the Temple of Jupiter. After this, the much smaller Temple of Jupiter Meilichios became the main seat of worship to Jupiter and the Capitoline Triad. The original Temple of Jupiter was still awaiting restoration when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79, burying the town of Pompeii in volcanic dust, ash, and pumice stones. The excavated temple can still be seen in Pompeii today.
    A Necropolis is a large ancient cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments.  Inside these tombs were elaborate paintings representing music and celebrations.  They saw death as a time when people were going to a better place.  It was a good time, a time to celebrate.
    The Pantheon was one of the first places they saw when the got to Rome.  It was also one of the most visited places while they were there.  It was a central point where everyone gathered.  The Pantheon was a house for the gods  Inside were different sections, each dedicated to something different.  Although The Pantheon looks like a normal square building, it is actually round with a portico of large granite columns.
    They shared a photo of the bronze sculpture of the She-Wolf.  The founding of Rome goes back to the myth of Remus and Romulus, twins who were abandoned and then nurtured by a sea-wolf. When they became adults they wanted to establish a city.  They fought over which hill to start a new city which led to Romulus killing his own brother.  Thus, Rome began.
    Being Catholic himself, Luc visited St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday.  He noted that it was much different experience than worship services here.  First, he didn't understand much of the language.  Nonetheless, it was still very beautiful.  Their class trip allowed them to climb to the top of St. Peter's where they could see much of he city and how busy it was.
    The Temple of Portunus is where people would go to offer their thanks for safe travel.  Travelers would pretty much offer everything they had for a safe journey.
    Of course, a trip to Italy, would not be complete without seeing the statue of David which is in Florence.  Duc pointed out the intricate details in the statue.
    Best of all, the trip was a huge success and they all learned a lot about Rome and it's culture first hand.
Club Assembly
     Although last week appeared to be just another episode in the continuing enlightenment of Rotary entertainment know as a Club Assembly, there was a special twist right from the start.  After that, it was what it was.
     The opening act of last week’s Club Assembly showcased Chuck Bealmear of the Rockwall Noon Rotary Club presenting a Paul Harris Society Certificate to our very own and soon to be first repreating Club President, Cindy Brandt.  A Paul Harris Society member is someone who contributes $1,000 or more each Rotary year to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus Fund, or approved Foundation grants.  Congratulations and Thank You Cindy!
    Cindy, club administration director and Club president-elect, announced we would attend the Wednesday, June 8th production of “Annie Get Your Gun” at the Finley Theatre. This will take place of our morning meeting.  District 5810’s District Conference will take place on Royal Carribean as they go on a seven day cruise April 23-30, 2017.  A $200 deposit is required by September 1.  They have a special Rotary rate of just $500 per person.  Ports of call include Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel where they would also have a medical service project.
    The Rotary Club of Grayson County is one of only four clubs in our District to acheive the top Gold level Presidential Citation for 2015-16.  Because so many clubs complained of how difficult it was to qualify for a Presidential Citation, Rotary International decided to add three levels of distinction:  Gold, Silver & Bronze.  Congratulations Grayson Rotary!!!
    Cindy announced that Edwin Clark will oversee our youth programs next year.  John Mabary and Shane Pruitt will run the Flag Lease program.  
    We have two campers selected for Camp RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award).  They are Tyler Davis and Audrey Legg.  Stacy Braddock and Francis Campell attended that last RILI (Rotary International Leadership Institute).  David Cortinas is now one of the facilitators.
    Norman Gordon, membership director, admitted he thought his committee was just a committe of one.  However, he realized his committee was actually a committee of everyone because of everyone’s williness to share Rotary with others.
    We have added five new members this year and another is soon to join our club.  Our newest members include John Mabary, Shane Pruitt, Sarah Pierce, Tom Watt & Kate Whitfield.  Belinda Spears is interested in joining and will become a member soon.  Sponsoring Rotarians include Melida Ailshire, Terry Everett, Otis Henry, Steve Ramsey & Jean Sorensen.
    We may be a small club, but we have a place for everyone.  We are a premier club in the District doing many great things locally and internationally.  We also have a lot fun!  Norman also announced that a New Member Orientation will be scheduled for May.
    Steve Ramsey, treasurer, said 4th quarter dues’ statements have been sent out.  As treasurer, he takes care of our money.  He makes sure all bills are paid on time and appreciates everyone for paying their dues in a timely fashion.
    Steve Avard, Foundation Director, takes care of all The Rotary Foundation needs of our club and members which includes Paul Harris Fellow designations.  He also oversees the Guatemala Literacy Project that we have participated in for seveal years.
    Francis Campbell, Fundraising chair, is working on having one fundraising event a month throughout the year.  All monies raised go to our scholarship foundation.  Kate Whitfield has some great ideas for easy fundraising events for the future.
    Our next service project is the Foster Parents’ Appreciation Dinner in May.  Donald Johnston, service project chair, will have more information soon.
    Terry Everett, secretary, reported some of the Club’s history and things we have done over the years.  He also added that the club will match up to 500 points toward a Paul Harris Fellowship for those who have 5 years of perfect attendance.  Also, those who sponsor a new member are eligible for 100 points to be applied toward to a Paul Harris Fellowship.  Our dues include $25 per quarter for The Rotary Foundation.
Josh Stevenson - The Zika Virus
    Josh Stevenson returns to the Grayson County Rotary Club to educate everyone on what we can do to help prevent the Zika Virus from spreading.  Josh is the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Manager for the Grayson County Health Department.  He also acts as the public information officer and oversees several other programs at the Health Department.  
    The last time Josh spoke, Ebola was in the news.  Although it is a serious disease, the Zika virus is of more concern mostly because of its ability to be so easily spread.
    Recently, during a conference call with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) they said the Zika virus is unlike anything we have ever seen in the area of public health.  Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  In fact, most diseases that kill most people in the world are insect-borne diseases.
    The Zika virus was first discovered in 1947, and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda.  Prior to the Zika outbreak in Brazil in 2014, the virus had never caused birth defects.  However, seven months into the outbreak they started seeing an increase in birth defects and miscarriages.
    Only about 20% of people infected with the Zika virus show any symptoms.  This is what makes the disease so deadly.  When 80% of those infected don't know it and are bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito will go on to bite another 6 to 8 people during its lifetime.  Although a mosquito bite is mostly how the virus is transmitted, it can also be spread sexually.  Zika can live in the male system up to 90 days.  A third way the Zika virus can be spread is through a blood donation or transfusion.  
    The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
    Our job here in Grayson County is to kill all the mosquitoes before they can bite someone that is infected with the Zika virus.  The Health Department is working with local government to take all necessary precautions to kill all of the mosquitoes before they can bite someone and spread the disease.  
    Getting all of the mayors and city managers on board isn't enough.  The Health Department especially needs your help.  Josh wants us all to walk around our yards and properties after it rains and  look for any standing water.  Mosquitoes can bread in as little amount of water as it takes to fill a soda cap.  
    Josh asked for everyone to do everything they can this summer to prevent mosquito bites.  Wear insect repellent.  Wear long sleeves and pants.  Wearing shoes instead of flip-flops or sandals is a big help, too, because mosquitoes really like to bite feet.  
    If there are larger areas with stagnant water, treat it with a larvicide.  A larvicide is an insecticide that is specifically targeted against the larval life stage of an insect.  You can purchase larvicides almost anywhere that sells insecticides.  There are even larvicides are are pet-friendly.
    If you can avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, then you can make sure you won't be passing the Zika virus along.  Let's all do our part in killing mosquitoes this summer and helping the Health Department spread the word.
J. D. Martinez - Sherman High School Head Football Coach
    A new era has begun for the Sherman High School athletic program.  Coach J.D. Martinez is the new head football coach and athletic coordinator for the Bearcats.  Coach Martinez brings twenty-four years of coaching experience to Sherman.  This will be his first as a head coach.  It is something he has been striving toward for a long time and will give it everything he has to make Sherman a successful program once again.
    Coach Martinez expressed lots of enthusiasm and excitement about getting to know and build relationships with the kids and well as with the community.  In a half jokingly, half serious tone, he admitted that one of his biggest challenges was getting his family to buy in to the opportunity before them.  Once his wife visited Sherman she loved the community and was on board with the transition.  Although his eighth grade daughter doesn't want to move away from her friends she will be ready to make the move to Sherman High School starting next fall.
    In addition, Coach Martinez mentioned there may be a bond election in the near future as Sherman has been in the planing stages of discovery to build a new complex that would be home to the high school as well as the sports facilities.  It will be much better for the students as well as the public.  He added it is difficult as an athletic coordinator to oversee all of the sports when they take place on the same night but in different parts of the city.
     Coach Martinez has already begun the movement of bringing back the pride Sherman once had.  Their hashtag is "BringBack".  You will start seeing it around town on bumper stickers soon.  He and the coaches are working hard to bring back the pride and dignity that belongs in Sherman.
    Before coming to Sherman, Coach Martinez has been the offensive coordinator and associate head coach for Flower Mound Marcus since 2012.  Prior to that he coached at Corpus Christi, Keller Fossil Ridge and nine years at Hurst L.D. Bell.  
    Born in Brownwood and raised in Granbury, Martinez attended the University of North Texas from 1986 to 1991, winning three letters for Mean Green coach Corky Nelson. Sherman’s new head coach and athletic director considers Nelson, who passed away in 2014, a great influence on his coaching philosophy. 
Sean Burrage - Southeastern Oklahoma President
      Being the middle of March Madness, we were in the double bonus last week.  Dr. Bryon Clark, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Dean of Southeastern Oklahoma University, introduced Sean Burrage.
    Mr. Burrage became Southeastern Oklahoma's newest president on July 1, 2014.  Just prior to assuming the presidency of Southeastern, he was an Oklahoma State Senator for two terms.  During his second term he was the Democratic floor leader of the Senate.  Dr. Clark added there are three things very important to Mr. Burrage, the legal profession, community service and higher education.  In addition, he also a member of the Choctaw Nation.
    Mr. Burrage is no stranger to the Texoma area.  His new position as president is more of a homecoming because he was actually born in Durant.  He has some strong ties to North Texas as well.  Before Sean was born his grandfather owned Burrage Appliance store in Sherman  in the last 1950s and arly 1960s..  His father and uncle went to school at Fairview Elementary and his grandmother taught at Piner Middle School.  During that time they lived on Highland Street in Sherman.
    Durant is part of the Texoma area economy.  They are also at the northern tip of the Metroplex as far as economic growth is concerned.  This is why they give in-state tuition to Texans.  Of the 4,000 students enrolled at Southeastern, 20% are from Texas.  Thirty percent are Native American.  One awesome statistic documented this past December is that 50% of those who walked across the stage were first generation college graduates.
    Southeastern offers the traditional college experience.  Students can study for four years, live in the dorms, be in a fraternity, be in the band, etc., however, the average Southeastern Oklahoma student is 26 years old.  Sometimes, their biggest incoming class is made up of returning students.
    Southeastern has an excellent working relationship with Grayson College and Austin College.  They offer classes in teacher education at Grayson's Denison campus, and occupational safety and health classes at the Van Alstyne campus.
    Southeastern is a regional university founded in 1909 along with the other regional universities in Oklahoma.  Southeastern was founded as a teacher's college.
    One major factor that makes Southeastern different than the other regional universities is their Aviation program.  With that, they have a pipeline agreement with American Eagle allowing students to go right into their program.  
    The hottest thing going at Southeastern right now is their Occupational Safety and Health program.  Also, their business school has an AACSB accreditation.  That puts them right there with the big universities such as Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and the University of Texas.
    Southeastern has famous alumni, too.  They include country music star and actor Reba McEntire, and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dennis Rodman.
    Mr. Burrage confirmed the budget problems you hear about in Oklahoma are real.  They don't have a diversified economy like Texas.  In Oklahoma, they are too reliant on income tax and sales tax.  Nonetheless, Southeastern is going to do well.
Jack Kennady - Johns Hopkins Research on Substance Use Disorder
    Austin College junior and Rotaract president Jack Kennady went to Johns Hopkins last summer to research public health issues.  He shared his presentation on substance use disorder and those who seek treatment by various demographics.  He is a public health major and plans to attend medical school.
    According to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a “substance use disorder describes a problematic pattern of using alcohol or another substance that results in impairment in daily life or noticeable distress.” As with most addiction problems, despite any consequences a person who has a problem with either alcoholism or drugs suffers, they will generally continue to use their drug of choice. They may make half-hearted attempts to stop or cut back their use, usually to no avail.
    Currently, in the United States alone, we have 22.7 million users.  That number has not changed over the past ten years.
    There are gender differences when it comes to substance abuse.  Not only are men more likely to suffer substance use, but they are also much more likely to not seek help.  However, gender isn't the only separation.  There are several other demographic variances such as income and race. 
    Lower economic individuals have a tendancy to seek treatment more than those in upper income brackets due to the fact that there are programs available to lower income clients that are not available to upper income clients.  However, there is a greater chance of incarceration for the lower income individuals.  A lack of insurance can also increase the chances of substance abuse disorder.
    Shockingly, 96% of young men with substance abuse disorder aged 18-25, are not receiving any treatment.  The three main reasons for not getting treatment are:  treatment being too costly, not wanting treatment, and not knowing where to go for treatment.
    Unfortunately, race plays a large role in the equation.  Statistics show that African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be impoverished,  They are also less likely to seek treatment compared to their white counterparts even along the same economic scales.
    Jack did an exemplary job showing the varioius demographics with his presentation and how they were all related in one way or another.  His extensive research presented some shock value with conclusive evidence that we have an enormous problem here in America with over 22 million citizens afflicted with substance use disorder.
    As a conclusive reminder, substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically and functionally significant impairment, such as health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. According to the DSM-5, a diagnosis of substance use disorder is based on evidence of impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria.
    Just because Jack’s research depicts how this horrible disease affects so many impoverished men and women here in America, it doesn’t express any favoritism, because it can and does spread amongst all income levels, all races and all ages.  And it’s not just living here in the U.S.  It stretches it’s ugly arms around the world.
Dr. David Hicks - Sherman ISD Superintendent
    Sherman Independent School District is under new leadership.  Dr. David Hicks became the school district's new superintendent in January.  We heard some of the who and why of Dr. Hicks.
    Dr. Hicks comes to Sherman from Denton where he was the superintendent of secondary academic programs at Denton Independent School District, one of the fastest growing school districts in North Texas.  He has been in education for 28 years. During that time he was a middle school history teacher, a high school assistant principal, helped open a new elementary school, a middle school principal, a high school principal, and then an assistant superintendent.  
     A personal mission of David is that he is a tireless advocate for public education.  He is a product of the Dallas schools and greatly compliments the teachers in his life.  He has five brothers and sisters and although his parents didn't finish college they made sure all six kids did.  Four of the six kids went on to become teachers.  
     His wife of 28 years is a pharmacist.  They have two children.  Their son works for Tyson and lives in Arkansas.  The daughter is enrolled at Oklahoma State with plans to go to medical school.
     Dr. Hicks noted that he tries to live his life by a quote that goes like this, "There is something about the world that is bigger than me.  It doesn't make me small but it makes me responsible."  He added that it is very much like Rotary's motto "Service Above Self."  David recounted he tries to make a difference each day no matter how small or how big.  He articulated, "My personal mission and my professional goal is to serve this community and make a difference for kids by supporting our teachers in the classroom."
     A Gallup's strength test tell a person their strengths and how to best utilize them.  It focuses on what people "can" do and not what they "can't" do.  In education, it works best by putting the right people in place so they will synergize and work together to capitalize on the kids' strengths, helping them achieve the things they can do. 
    According to Gallup, Dr. Hicks' is an achiever.  As such, David claims he wants what is best for himself as well as those for the people he works with or serves, and especially when it comes to ours kids and the community.
    Dr. Hicks says he is not stopping even when it doesn't look possible.  He will NOT take "no" for an answer.  If it is the right thing to do, then he will exhaust all his resources and all of his energy finding a way to get it done.  That may appear that he is just stubborn, but he doesn't mean for it to be.  He just wants to maximize achievement as an organization and for our kids.
    Another one of Dr. Hicks' strengths is being positive.  He always looks for the good in other people even when there is an initial conflict or they don't see eye to eye.  David tries to find a way to make the situation positive.  
    David is a believer of the future. Just like those who are involved in Rotary.  We are all involved to makes a difference in our community and around the world.
    Another strength of David's is being an "includer."  He jokingly admitted that gets him in trouble at times, whether it is a weekend cookout at home or in the business world.  Dr. Hicks noted that he likes to get input from others and get different points of view before making a decision.
    Dr. Hicks admitted that he picked Sherman because of it's incredible reputation and tradition.  When he first visited Sherman he talked with various citizens asking their point of view of the community and the schools.  He was truly inspired by the love everyone showed for Sherman and the school district.
    The Sherman school district is built around passion and excellence in everything they do.  They focus on achievement and college readiness for all students.  Sherman ISD exceeds state, local and nation accountability standards. 
    Sherman ISD consists of seven elementary schools, an intermediate school, a middle school, pre-K, a child development center, and a high school.  They provide additional services to kids from other counties through the boot camp.  They serves kids from age 2 to 18 and special needs kids up to age 25.
    There are more than 7,200 kids enrolled in Sherman with a growth rate of 11.5%.  Demographically, 38% are Hispanic, 38% anglo, 18% African American and the remaining consists of Asian, American Indian and other races.  Although Sherman ISD is very diverse in culture as well as languages spoken they serve every child.  They have programs to bring kids into the school system honoring their past, traditions and culture but still focusing on what they need in order to be college and career ready upon graduation.
    The Texas Education Agency recently published a list of 24 school districts out of more than 1,200 statewide that achieved the prestigious Postsecondary Readiness distinction for academic excellence. Sherman ISD made the list of twenty-four districts, which ranks the district among the top 2% in the state of Texas.  Sherman also ranks as one of the best high schools in America. They are ranked in the top 6% by U.S. News and World Reports and in the top 8% by the Washington Post.
Dan Griffin - The Rehabilitation Center Executive Director
    Dan Griffin is the executive director of the The Rehabilitation Center since 2013.  The Rehab Center began 65 years ago as the Easter Seals Society for Crippled Children and Adults.
    The Rehab Center treats children and adults providing care for a wide range of problems, from minor to complicated orthopedic conditions, neurological disorders, developmental delays, and many others. Their complete one-on-one method of therapy makes them your partner in rehabilitation.  The Center's philosophy of family-centered services is a major component of their program.
    The goal of therapy at The Rehabilitation Center is to enable every individual treated to perform at his or her greatest abilities.  Treatment may only consist of one service or be a combination of all disciplines.  The Rehab Center prides itself on the fact that it will not turn away any client due to financial limitations.  The Rehabilitation Center is a United Way Agency.
    One of their newest projects is opening an Open Play Sensory Integration Gym.  Dan said it is similar to Jump’n Land located at SherDen Mall that has ball pits and mats for the kids to jump around on.  The Rehab Center’s Sensory Integration Gym has some more specialized toys and tools specifically designed to help facilitate or inhibit certain behaviors, certain movements with special needs clientele, developmentally delayed individuals. 
    This has been used only for in-house patients, however, it is being opened up to the public.  This is a great opportunity for parents or grandparents to bring kids for some therapist led sensory integration playtime.  ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) has an area they can bring their clients for treatment as well.  It is also available to area pediatric home health agencies. 
    Other services include Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy.  All patients require a doctor’s referral.   
Kate Whitfield - Community & School Volunteer
    Kate Whitfield is an attorney by profession but she is better known as a community and school volunteer.  She currently serves on the Sherman I.S.D. board of trustees where she has served twice as board president.
    While in high school back in the seventies, Kate wasn't really sure what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She considered being an archaeologist, a research biologist or a child psychologist, however, she was persuaded to become a lawyer from watching a television show called "The Young Lawyers."  
    Interestingly, after receiving her law degree from Boston University School of Law, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she became a television lawyer.  Not a lawyer on TV but a lawyer for the television industry.  She worked for Entertainment Tonight, CBS, Paramount and NBC.  
    When she moved to Grayson County with her husband in 1992, there weren't many entertainment law jobs available.  So in 1994, she then began her next career in "volunteering" while her youngest child was only six months old.  She began training for W.H.O. (We Help Ourselves), a child safety and empowerment program.  It all started with three inspirations:  Charlie, Emma and Parker, her three children.
    Twenty-two years later, she claims 7,192 inspirations to continue her kids' volunteering career.  That number is how many kids are enrolled in the Sherman school district.
    A couple years later, she was given the opportunity to work in her previous career as an attorney, part-time, in the Grayson County District Attorney's Office for Bob Jarvis. 
    Kate bragged a little about her proudest accomplishment during her time with the county attorney's office.  It was when she was able to convince Mr. Jarvis to adopt the W.H.O. program as their community service project.  This led to the attorneys presenting the W.H.O. program to grade school kids in Sherman. 
    Their most impactful event was to the fifth graders at Dillingham Intermediate School.  This was the first time they weren't using puppets to teach kids but were using the people who put people who hurt kids away.  This really helped the kids understand the purpose of the W.H.O. program.  It let the kids know that someone cares.  Many kids live in situations that we as adults would hide from if we were in that environment.  Many of these kids just don't know that the way they are living isn't suppose to be like that. 
    The W.H.O, program teaches the kids that it's not okay for someone to hit them.  It's not okay for someone to be touching what the W.H.O. program calls "your bathing suit parts."  It's also not okay to be bullied.
    They are taught to tell someone if these things happen.  Also, if that first person you tell doesn't believe you, doesn't listen to you, or if they don't seem to care, then you tell someone else.    Unfortunately, that program hasn't been available in Grayson County due to some red tape from the parent organization in Dallas.  They also want the schools to pay them for all the training.
    That didn’t stop Kate from continuing with her volunteering. She began reading to elementary kids.  As her kids got older she began giving presentations to fifth graders on different kinds of tea as well as snacks.
    When her oldest child was in high school and made the tennis she, Kate became the second suburban driver for the tennis team.  She help drive the tennis team to area matches for four years.  
    This inspired Kate to step up her kid volunteering and run for the Sherman ISD school board. She then became an elected kids volunteer in 2007 as a trustee of the board.  She still continued with her hands on volunteering.
    In 2009, she got involved with Kids Entertaining Kids. it’s an annual fundraising event to help ECI (Early Childhool Intervention).  They provide services to families with children from birth to 36 months old who have developmental delays and disabilities.
    She is involved with Girls On The Run Running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence thorugh accomplishment.  Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are developed and reinforced through the program.
    Kate still serves on the Sherman ISD school board.  She also continues to read to all the fourth graders at Wakefield Elementary.
Brian Aspell - Vice President of Champion Cooler
    Inspirational!  Energetic!  Compassionate!  Just a few of the words that describe Brian Aspell, vice president of Champion Cooler Corporation.  He is also a Rotarian.
    Brian is driven to do everything he can to make our community a better place to live.  Although he confesses to being a Yankee, he says he came to Texas as soon as he could.
    Brian was born and raised in Ohio.  He proudly admits spending time in the United States Air Force in which he claims saved his life.  Brian said he came from the streets.  Those were some rough times.  He was very abused as a child.  Brian went on to say that he was actually kidnapped by his own family.  He has a lot of stories to tell as a result.
    Mr. Aspell travels around sharing many of his stories inspiring people to overcome adversity.  Through it all, he has gained the desire to help people get engaged and have a better life.  
    In 2011, when Brian came to Denison to interview for the Champion Cooler position he was excited.  With all the plants in Sherman and the nice big hospital in Denison it appeared there were plenty of people he could inspire to help him with any changes that might need to be made while he took over Champion Cooler.
    Much to his surprise, when it came time to hire tradesmen, there weren’t any.  The ones that claimed to be tradesmen weren’t really skilled.  As he soon learned, there wasn’t even a program in place to inspire kids to become skilled tradesmen.
    Brian is on the Denison School Board and noted that we tell all the kids that the only way they are going to be successful is if they get a college degree.  Only 25% actually get their Bachelors degree.  As a result, we are sending the wrong message to the other 75%. 
    Brian helped set up a program so that when a kid graduates high school they will also have a one-year certificate as a skilled tradesmen in manufacturing.  Denison High School is already involved in the program,  Sheman is quickly working to get involved.
    Mr. Aspell acknowledged that fact that we as Rotarians want to make our community better.  Referencing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, he points out that we must get back to the basics in order to help our community.  There are many people that don’t have the basic needs yet we expect them to be motivated and productive.  
    So how do we help them meet these basic physiological needs?  Maslow says that we all need air, water and food in order to survive.  If we don’t have those basic needs then we can’t go to the next level.
    We then need to feel safe.  If you don’t feel safe, you can never belong to something.  If you don’t belong to something you can’t be motivated.  If you aren’t motivated you can’t be self actualized or you can’t be a leader.
    Brian emphasized that if you really look at our community, there are many, many, many young people as well as older people who can’t meet the first two bottom levels of Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs.  Yet we wonder why we can’t motivate them to be better.  
    The great thing about Grayson County is we are in control, promoted Aspell.  We can bring in people once we fix that bottom level of needs.    
    The one thing that inspired Brian when he first came to Denison was potential.  There is a lot of potential here in Grayson County.
    Brian said there is one thing he has learned over time.  You have to be very careful of giving people what they want instead of making them earn what they need.  
    We have to start teaching these kids while they are young and not wait until they are adults.  We have to reach out to them and help them with the basic needs.  
    Brian is doing this.  He goes into the schools and connects with the kids.  He gives them hope.  He inspires them.  
    The moment we can engage them into something that they can be successful in, we will see a lot more motivated people right here in our community. This place will really begin to grow then. 
Ken Kerr - Hartford Regional Vice President - Advisor Consultant
    Ken Kerr, Hartford Regional Vice President, presented a program on "Beyond Investment Illusions - When it comes to your financial future, perception is everything." Ken distributed brochures to help everyone understand that the art of illusion takes advantage of our natural reactions.  Illusions create a false sense of the possible.    
    Ken added that if you listen to the news every day and read all the factual information online you will notice that everything hovers around your dollar.  He referenced the brochure as he talked about "Investment Illusion vs. Investment Reality."  
    "Illusions have a real influence.  While investing is considerably more complicated than most illusions, the market can also take advantage of our natural reactions.  In fact, the most important principles of investing are almost all counterintuitive by comparison."
    Mr. Kerr compared how the illusion that volatility must be feared to the reality that volatility should be expected.  Many investors forget that volatility represents the potential for gain just as much as it represents the potential for loss.
    Using a long-term growth chart and disregarding volatility, Ken showed how an investment of $10,000 in the S&P 500 index would have grown to $999,029 from December 31, 1974 to December 31, 2014.  He noted that if an investor had let the volatility over that time span play with their mind, they never would have made it to the $999,029 mark.  
    Ken posed a question, considering today's environment, are you an opportunistic or apprehensive investor?  He added they would say you need to be opportunistic.  He showed an illustration presenting two hypothetical approaches to volatility.  If the opportunistic investor had added $2,000 every time the market dropped 8% or more in a  month during the time period between 1974 and 2014 as described above, their investments would be worth $1,391,696.  During this time frame there were fifteen investment opportunities.  If the apprehensive investor moved $2,000 into a 30-Day U.S. T-Bill every time the market dropped 8% in a month, their investments would equal $663,608 in comparison.
    A second illusion is that fixed investments are risk-free.  The reality is every investment carries its own risk.  Inflation adjusted average income returns showed that equities grew at a rate of 8.02%, bonds 4.96% and cash investments at 1.04%; before taxes.  
    Taking into account the inflation-adjusted rates, it would take 9 years to double your money by investing in securities, 14 years investing in bonds and 67 years with cash investments.
    There is the illusion that Bulls and Bears are predictable.  The reality is timing the market is impossible.  Forty-six percent of the time, the best days of the market occurred during a bear market.  Another 26% of the market's best days occurred during the first two months of a bull market.  However, we don't really know whether we were in a bull or bear market until somewhere between 12 and 18 months later.  
    A fourth illusion is investing in winners is easy.  The reality is chasing winners is a losing battle.
    Having an investment plan can help investors stay on course because shifts in the market, either in the form of highs or lows, can cause investors to lose focus.  Investing in a diversified portfolio across a variety of asset classes may be a wiser approach than simply investing in the previous year's winners or losers, since the returns of poorly performing asset classes are often offset by asset classes that are performing well.
    Go beyond the illusions.  Don't go it alone.  Use a financial advisor to help you find suitable investments.  Make a plan.  A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages of how a well-diversified portfolio can help provide more balanced returns.  A long-term systematic investment plan provides several advantages.  
    You ask a professional (doctor) when you want to protect your health.  You ask a professional (insurance agent) when you want to protect your every day risks.  So when it comes to protecting your money, ask a professional financial advisor.  
Bob Roden - Four Rivers Outreach Executive Director
    Bob Roden is the new executive director at Four Rivers Outreach.  Although his position is new, he isn't new to 4 Rivers.  Bob worked with Four Rivers in a much smaller capacity while he was the Director of External Relations with Texoma Workforce Solutions.
    Mr. Roden thanked Rotary for being a big part of their history including the grant in 2006, that really helped them.  He also recognized Rotary for their continued assistance along the way.
    Bob said there isn't anything new to report about Four Rivers other than they continue to do what they have in the past.  Those things, however, work and they continue to work.
    As Bob began explaining the things they do at Four Rivers, he said there are three stages involved in recovering from alcohol and drug addiction.  The first one is typically detoxification. which is a medical procedure.
    Strangely enough, the most dangerous addiction is alcohol.  There are drugs that are more difficult to detoxify from, but alcohol is the most dangerous and usually takes three to five days.
    Following that is the treatment process.  Bob noted that it normally takes between 21 and 28 days to break a habit and in order to break the habit of drug addiction they must take the person and remove them from the surroundings they are accustomed to, separate them from the people they have been hanging out with and removed them from the circumstances they have involved with.  This will help the addict physically break the habit and retrain their brain to realize whatever it is  causing their addiction can be lived without.  Part of the process is to determine what the triggers are causing the addiction so when these triggers occur again they can figure out a better way to deal with them.
    The third phase is Recovery, which is basically the rest of that person's life.  A person that has been addicted to a substance always has the potential of going back to that substance or something similar for the rest of their lives.  Bob noted that is why you will always hear alcoholics refer to themselves as "recovering alcoholics" for the rest of their lives, telling you how long they have been clean and sober, because that risk is always there. 
    Four Rivers is not involved in the detox or treatment phase of addictions.  During those first two phases they are typically partnered with other locations in Dallas or Fort Worth.
    Four Rivers is in the recovery business.  They are in the "forgiveness" business.  Every day they help people find their way to forgiveness, forgiving themselves, finding others to forgive them and forgiving others so they can move forward with their lives and learn how to cope.
    People come to the center daily.  Some come to be a part of the recovery classes offered at Four Rivers.  Some may visit just for the opportunity to have a hot meal.
     Four Rivers offers a transitional living space available for men who have gone through the detox and treatment phase but now have no place to live.  They are allowed to come to the center to live up to nine months or a year.  Most of the time, an addict will stay in that behavior until they have to get out of it.  They stay until they have nothing else working for them.  
    Once this addictive behavior no longer works for them, they have burned all their bridges and have no place else to go.  Once they have gone through detox and are released from treatment, they have nothing.  They don't have a job or any money.  They have nothing.  They go to Four Rivers looking for help on how to get back on their feet.
    Four Rivers Outreach is a faith-based organization providing programs for men and women who have life-controlling issues including substance abuse and homelessness.
Kris McKinney - Regional Representative For Congressman John Ratcliffe
    Kris McKinney is the Regional Representative in the Sherman District office for U.S. Congressman John Ratcliffe.  She is a fourth generation Denisonian and a graduate of Austin College with a B.A. in Business Administration.  
    Texas’ 4th Congressional District is one of the largest in the United States.  Bordered by three states, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, it encompasses over 10, 000 square miles.  Only 10 cities in the District have more than 10,000 residents.  There are 63,000 Veterans in District 4.
    Kris shared some interesting trivia about Texas Distirct 4.  All hand grenades made in the United States are done so in District 4.  President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as we all know, was born in Texas District 4. 
    Texas has had at least four congressional districts since the state was readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.  Only four men have represented Texas District 4 over the past 100 years.  The district’s best known congressman was Sam Rayburn, the longtime Speaker of the House, served from 1913-1961.  Ray Roberts served from 1962-1981.  Ralph Hall served from 1981-2015.  John Ratcliffe took office on January 3, 2015.
    Congressman Ratcliffe serves on several committess.  He serves on the House Homeland Security Committee where he serves as chairman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies Subcommittee.  He also is involved with the Task Force on Combatting Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel and the Transportation Security Subcommittee.
    Mr. Ratcliffe serves on the House Judiciary Committee.  He is involved with the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee and the Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee. 
    Some of Congressman Ratcliffe’s priority include defending the Constitution and ensuring proper separation of powers, securing our borders, reining in out of control spending, repealing and replacing Obamacare and reducing the regulatory burden.
    Congressman Ratcliffe’s office can assist people in the district that might be having problems with federal agencies. This includes the IRS, Social Security Administration, the VA and other agencies. One of his greatest accomplishments in 2015 was closing 582 cases that dealt with these issues.  
    Congressman Ratcliffe made over 40 visits to Grayson County in 2015 which included tours of local businesses and area nonprofits.  He also held meetings with local officials and constituents.
    Congressman Ratcliffe can be credited with several “Firsts” for District 4.  They include Insta-Polls by email, Telephone Town Halls in April, May & September, Hosted many Coffee with your Congressman / Town Hall events, Video statements which can be found on his website and Facebook page, a Military Academy Forum and he is the only Freshman Congressman to have all offices open on day one!
Laura Ramsey - Glazier's Distributors Regional Sales Director
    Laura Ramsey is a winer!  Winner, too.  Whiner, not so much.  Laura works for Glazer’s Distributors headquartered in Dallas, Texas.  
    Glazer's is a wholesale distributor of alcoholic beverages. In Texas, the company is the largest of its kind and one of the largest wine and spirits and malt beverage distributors in the US. Glazer's distributes Budweiser beer, Robert Mondavi wines, Brown-Forman and Bacardi spirits, and Diageo products. The business, part of the Glazer's Family of Companies, was founded in Dallas in 1909 as the Jumbo Bottling Company by Louis Glazer. Today, the third-generation family-owned business has operations in some 15 US states and Canada.
    Laura does claim to be a professional wine-o, however, she adds that there is a lot more “professional” involvement.  Laura has been in the industry for seven-and-a-half years.  Her team consists of 37 field reps, five district managers and two other management personnel.
    It hasn’t always been so glamourous, according to Laura.  After college, she knew nothing about the wine industry and started out as a grocery store sales representative in the mid-cities area between Dallas and Fort Worth.  
    She then moved to San Antonio when she was promoted into a management position.  After a couple years there, she came back to the Dallas area and began working for the winery directly for the first time as a FIeld Marketing Manager.  She worked with the sales reps designing wine lists, creating marketing strategies and growth percentage for the local market.      Laura then became a Portfolio Manager working with Gallo.  A little over a year later she moved into her current position as Regional Sales Director this past July.
    Wine is becoming more popular at sporting events.  We can thank Moscato for that.  Moscato has always been a grape, but hasn’t been made into a wine until 2008. 
    Since then, it has become quite a phenomenon.  For five or six years in a row, Moscato was the fastest growing white wine.  
    This is just one example of how Gallo has developed ways to increase wine consumption.  With the Moscato, their objective is to introduce wine to those who don’t drink wine.  They hope to get the beer drinkers to begin drinking wine as well.
     Gallo obtained a patent to use the luminescent dust used to make frosting shine on your favorite cake or the sparkle in rock candy.  They have created America’s first shimmery liqueur called Viniq.  Viniq is a combination of premium vodka, Moscato, natural fruit flavors.
    Laura admitted that the world of wines and liqueurs is always changing.  As a result, this is something that she really enjoys being involved in.
Dr. Scott Kornman - Laboratory Medical Director for WNJ
    Dr. Scott Kornman is a pathology specialist with more than 21 years of experience.  He is the new Laboratory Medical Director at Wilson N Jones Regional Medical Center.   
    A pathologist is a physician who examines tissues, checks the accuracy of lab tests and interprets the results in order to facilitate the patient’s diagnosis and treatment.  Basically, when you go to the hospital and have anything taken out, whether it’s liquid (blood, urine, spinal fluid), you have a polyp removed or maybe an organ such as your appendix that requires a biopsy, it goes to the lab for examination.
    Histology sample preparation prepares tissue specimens for sectioning, staining and diagnosis. The standard paraffin process (tissue processing) moves specimens through a series of steps so the soft tissue is supported in a medium that allows sectioning. The standard steps are: Fixation that preserves the tissue, Processing that dehydrates, clears and infiltrates the tissue with paraffin wax, Embedding that allows orientation of the specimen in a “block” that can be sectioned and is easy to store and handle, and Sectioning using a microtome to produce very thin sections that are placed on a microscope slide ready for staining.
    Dr. Kornman deals with the tissues.  Another area of the lab deals with the fluids.  
    Although Dr. Kornman comes to Sherman from Longview, he is coming back home in a sense.  He finished his premedical training at Austin College as a residence hall director for three years. After Dr. Kornman graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and began his residency, he became interested in forensic pathology.  Forensic, like others, is a subspecialty that requires additonal training.
    Since Uncle Sam paid for medical school, Dr. Kornman noted that he owed the Air Force four years of service.  He was trained as a forensic pathologist before he went on active duty.  
    Dr. Kornman spent his four years as a medical examiner for the Armed Forces living in Washington, D.C., from 1999 to 2003.  He recalled some very tumultuos events during that time.  They investigated the U.S.S. Cole, they responded to the deaths at the Pentagon during 9-11 and examined and identified the bodies of the astronauts killed during the flight of the Challenger.
Kelly Cassell - Grayson County HR Director
        Kelly Cassell is the director of Human Resources for Grayson County.  Although she has just reached her one year anniversary, she has been involved in human resources for over twenty years.  
        The job of the three Human Resource (HR) employees is to take care of the 550 Grayson County employees so the employees in turn can take care of the citizens.  One of the fun things HR does for its employees is to recognize those who have worked for the county at an annual banquet.  As each employee reaches a five year term, they are recognized at the banquet.  This year they will be recognizing an employee who has been with the county for 40 years!  They also will recognize a few 30 year veterans.
    In regards to the North Texas Regional Airport, Kelly noted there are fives candidates for the position of airport director.  They hope to fill the position soon as they are looking into  the federal aviation tower program.
    They are also looking to fill positions in the treasurer's office and the tax office.  Kelly added that not only is it a great place to work, but they have great benefits as well.  Plus they get off eleven times a year for federal holidays.
    One of the biggest differences in the HR world between the private sector and working for county government is privacy.  In corporate America, everything is kept confidential.  Not so with the county.  Everything in government is open to the public.
    The biggest concern with employees, whether it is in the corporate world or with the county, is benefits.  They want to know they will have medical benefits that are affordable.
    Kelly not only helps people on a daily basis, but she is also very involved in animal rescue.  She admits she is more of a cat person than a dog person, but when it comes to animals she holds no prejudices.  She presently has three chocolate labs that need a good home.  She is currently caring for fourteen cats.  Kelly is looking for adoptive homes because her inn is full.   
Magistrate Judge Christine Nowak
    Christine Adamson Nowak has returned home.  She is the newly appointed Magistrate Judge for the Sherman division in the Eastern District of Texas.  Not only is Christine a Sherman High School cum laude graduate, but she is also a Grayson County Rotary Club Scholarship recipient.
    Judge Nowak fills the spot left open when Judge Amos Mazzant was appointed to the empty seat at the Paul Brown Federal Courthouse in Sherman.  She received her official appointment in March.
    After high school, Christine went to Texas A&M University.  She is a 4th generation Aggie and jokingly added that her family came to the United States just to become Aggies.  Her great-grandfather actually came over from New Zealand to coach the Texas A&M swim team.   
    Christine graduated early from A&M with a bachelor's degree in business administration, cum laude, after just three-and-a-half years.  After graduating from Baylor Law School, cum laude, she spent the past decade working for  the national firm Hughes Luce, LLP (now called K&L Gates, LLP), and  Dykema Gossett, PLL, making partner there.  She primarily did complex, commercial litigation, saying it means that nobody really knows what she did, although did help companies fight over money.
    Christine said she applied for the position when she heard it was open because she and her husband knew they wanted to move their family closer to her parents in Sherman.  She added that she enjoys seeing people that she knows while out shopping.
    In the United States federal courts, magistrate judges are appointed to assist United States district court judges in the performance of their duties.  A magistrate judge has no independent authority.  While district judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate for lifetime tenure, magistrate judges are appointed by a majority vote of the federal district judges of a particular district and serve terms of eight years if full-time, or four years if part-time, and may be reappointed.  Since she is full time, Judge Nowak will have to go through the selection process again in eight years.
    Her jurisdiction flows entirely from the District Court Judge.  She predominately handles all pretrial matters, including criminal and civil.  Magistrate judges generally oversee first appearances of criminal defendants, set bail, and conduct other administrative duties.
    Judge Nowak was recognized by "Texas Monthly" as a "Rising Star" in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.  She was recognized for business litigation, general litigation, and estate and trust litigation.  
    Nowak's courtroom deputy is Keary Conrad.  Her law clerks are Melissa Broadway and Emileigh Hubbard.
Bill Magers - Grayson County Judge
    Grayson County Judge Bill Magers spoke on  transportation now and what to look for down the road.  Texoma Area Paratransit  System (TAPS) is the hot topic lately.   
    TAPS is in trouble, big trouble.  It is all due to gross mismanagement of finances over the past few years.  Just because you have checks doesn't mean you have money in the bank.  Bad record keeping has put TAPS about $4 million in debt.  Even worse, they owe the IRS over $1 million in back payroll taxes.  Before they can even think about trying to find a way to keep TAPS in business, they must pay the IRS first.  
    The Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is responsible for the planning and programming of all federal and state transportation funds for the cities of Sherman, Denison, Pottsboro, Howe, Van Alstyne and Gunter, as well as a major portion of Grayson County.  It is the smallest, yet toughest MPO in the state of Texas.
    Judge Magers talked a little about what has recently been going on with the area roads.  He talked more about what we can expect in the future.  
    Hwy. 75 and Hwy. 82 are the major focus of the current MPO funds.  They had $7 million budget to work with.  The Loy Lake Bridge project has finally come to an end.  Other current roads being completed include the expanded turn lane in front of Caterpillar on FM 1417, the new road and revised turn lanes just west of WalMart, the $9 million Denison Viaduct project, and the widening of Shepherd Road near the old J&J in south Sherman.  These project used the $7 million in MPO money plus another $19 million of TXDot money.  
    The MPO puts together a 4-year plan called the TIP (Transportation Improvement Program).  Safety and traffic count are two major areas they must consider when planning on future road improvements.  Looking back over the last five years, it too $26 million to fund the area road projects.  As they look further into the future, they are estimating it will take $230 million to expand and improve the area roads to keep up with the growth of Grayson County between now and the year 2040.    
    Judge Magers shared several maps detailing the planned improvements and changes over the next several years.  Although they have a plan of action, he emphasized there will be plenty of changes to the master plan before it is all said and done.    Future plans include tying onto the toll road near Celina and bringing it on through Grayson County.  FM 1417 will see improvements with better shoulders to help traffic flow as a result of the new WalMart being constructed near 1417 and Lamberth Road.  Hwy. 75 and Crawford Street in Denison will be improved as well.  Practically all of the major roads will see some sort of improvement.  Hwy. 691 may one day extend over to Hwy. 289.  Travis Street needs help but they will have to deal with limited space available for expansion plus the narrow bridge or Hwy 82.
    TXDot has it in their future plans to widen Hwy. 75 and bring it up to Interstate standards.  They must figure out a way to tie it on to I-45 which ends on the south side of Dallas.  The cities of Plano and Richardson don't wan't Highway 75 to become an Interstate Highway.  They are looking at bringing it up on the west side of Plano and Richardson and then over to Hwy. 75 and hopefully in cooperation with Oklahoma extend it all the way up to Big Cabin, Oklahoma.  Judge Magers emphasized that many big businesses will not consider an area that does not have an Interstate Highway nearby.
    These are just a few of the plans being considered over the next 20-25 years.  However, these plans are subject to change over the years, but at least there is a plan and it's better to have a plan and be ready for the growth that has already began in Grayson County.
John Plotnik - SEDCO President
    John Plotnik is the new president of the Sherman Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO).  He brings fresh ideas and forty plus years of experience in economic development and commercial real estate.
    John first posed the question, "What is economic development?"  Answering he replied, "Economic development is where local, county, state and federal people get together and they work in unison to bring businesses, jobs and investments into a community."  It starts locally, so they will start by talking with the public and private leadership here in Sherman and ask what their wants, needs and desires are.  They will also thank them for their investments within our community.  
    They will follow up by asking them what it is that keeps them from creating investments in our city.  What can SEDCO do to help them expand and grow?  They will then listen to what their ideas in Sherman are and how SEDCO can help.  They will continue by asking the existing industries what companies outside our city would be beneficial to them by being here.   
    What companies are there in the Dallas area that have grown tired of the congestion and are looking for a more business friendly area?  John said they are willing to go talk to anyone that might be interested.
    Mr. Plotnik pointed out that you will notice a lot of out-of-state license plates on cars in area retailers.  Why is that?  Toyota America recently announced 3,000 new jobs in Plano which can grow to 5,000.  Workers from California are use to driving and hour to an hour-and-a-half to their jobs.  If they lived in Sherman it would only take them about a half-an-hour to get to their job.  That's why homes in our area are being bought up so quickly.  There are no homes left in the McKinney, Richardson, Allen area.  They are coming to Sherman for the quality of life and homes that are available. 
    Growth is already coming to Sherman.  People are moving here.  We must figure out how we are going to develop our single and multi-family homes.  We need to plan on how we are going to build our infrastructure as far as water, gas, electric, security, police and education.  Growth is going to happen and it is going to come to Sherman because that is the natural migration.  It's the only way to grow because the Dallas area is full.  Growth is also going to add jobs and increase retail.  
    John ran down a list of local companies that have invested $733 million in our area within just the last three years.  As a result, it has added 1,167 new primary core jobs.  That growth has added 32% to the taxable value of the city of Sherman.  
    New home permits are up this year compared to last.  September year to date new values for the Commercial & Industrial sector are $23.3 million compared to $8.2 million last year.  1,000 new jobs have been created this year over last, too.  This is wonderful news!
    “We are not a suburb of Dallas, Dallas is a suburb of us,” John promoted.  He closed by quoting Waterman Ormsby,  a reporter for the New York Herald, who in 1858, was the first sole transcontinental stagecoach passenger of the Butterfield Overland Mail stage and landed here in Sherman on a stopover.  Mr. Ormsby said this about Sherman, “Sherman is a pleasant little village with about 600 inhabitants and is noted for its enterprising citizens.”  Mr. Plotnik quickly added, “And that’s what we are today.  We are enterprising citizens.”
Club Assembly
    Last week was our first installment of Club Assemblies.  If you missed it, no worries, there will be others in the future.
    Secretary Terry Everett said everything has been updated on all the websites (local, district & international).  All the requirements needed in order to receive the Presidential Citation had been entered. We now just have to fulfill our goals.  Grayson Rotary was one of only eight clubs to receive the Presidential Citation last year (2014-15).  One of the goals is to increase membership by a net of one member.  We are on track at the moment at least.  We lost one member who moved away but gained to new members:  John Mabary & Shane Pruitt.