Blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin – has potential uses far beyond digital currencies. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from May 30 guest speaker Dr. Dirk Brown, shown with club member Walker Williams (left in photo). Brown is faculty director of the University of South Carolina’s McNair Institute for Entrepreneurism and Free Enterprise. He has extensive experience in digital media and electronic technologies, operations and marketing. Brown said that currently, most people use a trusted middleman such as a bank to make a transaction. But blockchain allows consumers and suppliers to connect directly, removing the need for third party validation. Using cryptography to keep exchanges secure, blockchain provides a giant spreadsheet or “digital ledger” of transactions that everyone on the network can see. This network is essentially a chain of computers that must all approve an exchange before it can be verified and recorded. Brown said blockchain technology can work for almost every type of transaction involving value, including money, goods and property. Its potential uses are almost limitless, and blockchain could also help reduce fraud because every transaction would be recorded and distributed on a public ledger. It’s also virtually impossible to hack. “We now have a secure way to make value exchanges with strangers without a central authority,” Brown explained. “The future is here for blockchain and cryptocurrency, but most of us are just now realizing it.” Brown has a bachelor of science from Queens University in Canada, with post-graduate degrees from San Jose State and Cornell University, where he earned a doctorate in materials science.
Capital Rotarians were briefed on life in China when former club member Qing Wang was May 23rd’s weekly guest speaker. Wang – now a member of Five Points Rotary – is a Chinese citizen living and working in the US. She prefaced her remarks by noting that although she still has friends and family living in China, it’s been four years since her last visit. In that time, she said, there has been rapid economic development along with changes in what she called the key elements of daily living – food, housing, transportation/commuting, shopping and education. She also noted that China’s population of 1.4 billion is not evenly distributed throughout the country, but heavily concentrated on its east coast and in approximately 15 megacities cities, each with a population in excess of 10 million. Wang is a bridge engineer with the SC Department of Transportation. She has a structural engineering doctorate from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and earned undergraduate degrees from China’s Beijing City University and Yanshan University.
The Honorable Mr. Wilson was the keynote speaker at the recent Rotary meeting. He spoke about the alarming topic of human trafficking. It is difficult to state the enormity of this topic because it usually starts with pornography on the phone to prostitution and ultimately ending up in white slavery. He estimated this business to be in the $60 billion range in today’s environment it is spreading and increasing His presentation was shocking and eye-opening.He laid out the state’ plan for addressing this problem and how SC was working with other states to curb this horrible problem. Pictured are Chicora Rotary President Blakely Roof and South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson. The second picture shows retired Colonel Wilson receiving a US Veteran from a Chicora Rotarian.
On April 27, the Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island conducted a successful Raffle and Scavenger Hunt .
Our objectives for the Raffle and Scavenger Hunt were:
Johnson Creek Tavern co-owner Coleman White (far right) with his wife Cinta White (far left) pose with Honor Flight Savannah board members (left to right) Owen Hand, Marian Spears, Larry Spears, and Jim Weiskopf at Johnson Creek Tavern following the pull down by an Army of volunteers of 17,569 one dollar bills that patrons stapled to the walls and ceiling of the restaurant over the past three years.
This was the second donation to Honor Flight Savannah by Johnson Creek Tavern co-owners Coleman White and Jay Lloyd. The first donation, made in March, 2015 was for $12,869. This year’s donation of $17,569 was more than enough to pay for all Low Country veterans who traveled to Washington, DC on May 4-6, to visit the nation’s war memorials.
Capital Rotary members got the “straight poop” about Riverbanks Zoo’s composting success from guest speaker John Davis on May 16. Davis (left, in photo with Rotarian Bud Foy) said the “bottom line” is that animal manure can be a profit-maker instead of a wasted byproduct. He holds a degree in wildlife biology from Kansas State University and has run the composting program since 2009 as Director of Animal Care and Welfare at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The zoo must contend with about 1,200 pounds of excrement daily, mostly from its elephant, giraffe and zebra populations. After collection, the manure decomposes and cures in a special storage area while being monitored for temperature and moisture. When it reaches the stage where it’s ready to be called “natural soil amendment,” the compost can be distributed at Riverbanks Garden and sold. It’s available for gift shop purchase or by the pick-up truckload during spring and fall bulk sales. Some of the sale proceeds go to the zoo’s conservation fund that supports projects to save wildlife and wildlife habitat all over the world. Each year Riverbanks converts 13,418 cubic feet of dung into money-making compost.
June is Rotary Fellowship month!
International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators
The International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators is one of RI’s newer “professional” fellowships. The website address is www.rotarianeducators.org. As you can see from the website, one does NOT have to be an educator or work in the field of education to be a member – just have a passion for or an interest in education. Membership is available for one year ($20 USD), three years ($50 USD), or a lifetime membership for $100 USD.
Rotarians, family members of Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Rotary Foundation Alumni members are eligible for membership. You can join from the website by using a credit card or PayPal.
Thank you in advance.
Yours in Rotary Service,
Charles Grant, Ph.D.
Note: International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators operates in compliance with Rotary International’s policies for Rotary Fellowships but it is not an agency of, or controlled by, Rotary International.
Main Street Rotary Club (MSRC) of Columbia participated in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Blazers program this quarter. Blazers is a 10-week leadership development course geared towards juveniles at DJJ. During the 10 weeks youth learn dressing for success, attitude is everything’s, college knowledge, the impact of community service, employment information and crucial public speaking skills. The program is offer one evening a week and begins with a trip to a foreign country to learn about fun facts from that country and how to properly hold conversation during dinner. To graduate from the program the youth must stand and give a 2 to 3 minute speech in front of an audience of 50-75 people. Upon graduation the youth are given a blue blazer, hence the name, that they can take home with them after they leave DJJ. MSRC’s participation was in coordination with the 2017-2018 Rotary Foundation District Grant and members of MSRC contributed a total of over 100 hours of service over the 10-week course sitting with the youth during dinner, participating in all the courses, and working one on one with the youth to construct their speeches. This first quarter the program graduated 10 young men as Blazers. The program will have another session start in July and the program accepts donations of blue blazers. For information about the program, participation or donations, please contact Matthew Morrison at MDMORR@scdjj.net.
MSRC members participating in the Blazers program.
Rotary clubs worldwide are the heart and soul of an unprecedented effort to eradicate polio, an effort leading to a 99% drop in cases of the once-widespread disease. Capital Rotary club members were reminded of that fact in a video shown at their May 9 breakfast meeting. Rotary began an anti-polio campaign in 1979 with a project to vaccinate children in the Philippines. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative launched in 1988 is driven by Rotary International and four other core partners – the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The partners’ work has been called “the single most successful public health initiative in history.” Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness building. In this way, Rotarians and the 101-year-old Rotary Foundation have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries.
Capital Rotarian Abby Naas was in costume and armed with a light saber for “Star Wars Night” at the Columbia Fireflies baseball game on Friday, May 4. She was among a host of District 7770 club members enjoying a Rotary Night celebration, too, at Spirit Communications Park. The evening of baseball, hot dogs and good sportsmanship combines fellowship and fund-raising, with additional proceeds going to the Rotary Foundation. The hosting Fireflies are a minor league affiliate of the New York Mets. Naas joined the Fireflies staff in January 2015 as marketing and public relations vice president.