Rotary welcomes new members

It is always a special Rotary meeting when there is a new member induction; doubly so when there are two.

Past President Bettie Bolar presided over the induction of newest members Chad Wahrman and David Barajas during the club’s meeting on July 29. Wahrman is the administrator at Villa Del Sol and Barajas the CEO of the Marshalltown Regional Partnership.

Mary Giese introduced guest David Schmitz, community resources specialist – Great Places with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Rotarian Royal Young, trailer in tow, invited members to help themselves to a helping of sweet corn saying “it’s prime time and this year is a particularly good tasty crop.”

Karn Gregoire shared a couple of current opportunities to help the Roundhouse renovation project. Jodi Faustlin is helping with the new service project committee and is looking for a couple of volunteers to help out with the goal of brainstorming one project per quarter.

President Bonnie Lowery shared the goal of the service project for this quarter is to bring 232 warm winter coats for children in the immediate Marshalltown area.

Vic Hellberg then introduced Tom Reis to speak about being an amateur radio operator at the National Weather Service. He explained what is required to become a licensed amateur radio operator. For the past five years, Reis has been a coordinator for the National Weather Service Des Moines office, which covers 51 counties in Iowa’s central corridor.

The focus of his presentation was on SKYWARN, a volunteer program of severe weather spotters. SKYWARN uses spotters and chasers to safely relay information via such means as amateur radio, Facebook and Twitter. Reis explained the differences between a spotter and a chaser. A spotter helps with protection from severe storms and takes on the primary mission of reporting storm attributes that compliments what is gleaned from Doppler radar.

Although there is more hype surrounding storm chasers, Reis admitted they provide useful information as well. Reis closed by explaining what types of information is valuable and, conversely, what is not quite as useful.