President Chuck called the meeting to order at 12:15.  Joe Kovarik lead the club in song, accompanied by Doug Hartford on the piano. Scott Van led the club in prayer for the Inspirational Minute. Mindee Kastelic introduced visiting Rotarians and guests.  Mindee was also the day’s greeter.  President Chuck announced that we would not be having a Fellowship Gathering on Thursday but that there will be a planning session this Friday (January 27) at Nina’s at 8:00 AM to pin down upcoming Fellowship programs.  All are invited to attend. We celebrated January birthdays.
 
Linda Mulhern introduced us to Sterling Miller, who will be one of 5 outbound youth exchange students next year.  Sterling is a student at the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts and will be going to Brazil.  He’s an extremely impressive young man who has overcome some significant obstacles in his life, including the loss of his mother last year.  He needs some assistance financing his exchange and has set up a GoFundMe page to help (GoFundMe.com/SterlingBrazil).  Please visit the page to read his story and consider a contribution. 
 
Lindsay Weier promoted Rotary Night at the Wild, which will be April 4. This is the last game of the regular season and promises to be a good time.  Please contact Lindsay or Ed Coleman for more information.
 
After Happy Dollars we moved into our program which featured Todd Axtell, Chief of the St. Paul Police Department.  Chief Axtell was appointed to his post on June 23, 2016. He shared with the club his vision and highlights of his first 7 month as Chief.  He spoke about the challenges the department faced following the Philando Castile shooting, including the I-94 shutdown and other protests that followed as well as the subsequent meeting he attended with President Obama and Mayor Coleman at the White House.  He emphasized the Department’s role in keeping those protests peaceful and also talked about the Department’s role in keeping the peace during Saturday’s women’s march. 
 
Chief Axtell gave us an overview of the department:  600 officers, 200 civilian employees and 300 calls per year.  He also shared the department’s purpose:  “Trusted Service with Respect.”  The department’s current goals are to 1) reduce gun and gang violence; 2) diversify the department; 3) engage the community to keep St. Paul safe.  After his presentation, Chief Axtell took several questions from the audience. 
 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

 

Pam Chandler

 
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