Our guests today were Past District Governor Craig Leiser and NBMV Past President Jim Kadechka.
PDG Leiser presented Margaret a check from District 5960 for $3,750.  The money was the District's match for the ECHO grant which was just completed.  Thanks once again to Geoff Hollimon, who spearheaded the grant.
Margaret was proud to report that our club received the 2014-2015 Zone Literacy and Education Award for our efforts to promote Literacy and Education in the New Brighton Mounds View community as well as internationally.  This award is a big deal in Rotary and we should be very proud.  A hastily taken photo of the award is shown below.
Gerry Tietz was pleased to present Cindy Carlson with a Paul Harris Fellow +4 award, signifying that she has contributed a total of over $5,000 to the Rotary Foundation.  Congratulations, Cindy, and thank you for your continuing support of the Foundation.  Cindy and Gerry are shown below.
Val Johnson, MaryAnn Bawden and Char Samuelson represented Rotary at the New Brighton Town Hall/Open house this past Saturday.  It's a great opportunity for us to create community awareness of Rotary and also interest people in joining Rotary.
John Ordway reported that we can probably expect $17,500 net from the Gold Plate Dinner.  These proceeds will help the Board to handle the ever-increasing requests for donations.  Thanks again to all who contributed to the successful fundraiser.
Watch the Lillie Suburban News this week for a story about our Fourth Grade Foresters Arbor Day Tree Giveaway.  Thanks to Linda Lafond, Cor Wilson and others who have found a way to get our stories and events published in the local papers.  This will surely lead to greater awareness of all the great things we so quietly accomplish in our community.
Dean Lotter reported on a new water contamination issue for New Brighton.  New technology has made it possible to detect extremely low concentrations of chemicals in drinking water and a recent test by the Minnesota Department of Health has detected trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane in the City's water.  The chemical was used in solvents at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.  Although the health risk is thought to be very low, the City and the Army are cooperating to address the problem, and the Army will pay for the eventual solution.  Until a solution is implemented, New Brighton's water will be coming from deeper wells that are free of the contaminant.  Kudos to Dean and New Brighton city government for their swift and transparent response to this situation.  For more information, click here.

Margaret Johnson and Bob Barmore teamed up to celebrate their birthdays.  See the photo below.

Cindy Carlson introduced our speaker, Kara VanderKamp from the Remember Niger Coalition,  You'll remember that Kara has spoken to us in the past about Niger, and that we were the lead club in a Global Matching Grant project where ten District 5960 Rotary clubs raised $11,500 which, when added to matches by District 5960 and the Rotary Foundation, resulted in a total of $37,300 to improve conditions in schools in Niger.  Niger is the least developed country in the world and lack of education is a big part of the problem.  Fully 60% of the population has no schooling at all.  The current rate of school participation is very low and the rate is even lower for girls, only 37% of whom attend  primary school and only 8% attend secondary school.  Our Global Grant helped to improve the conditions at three schools supported by the Remember Niger Coalition.  Your dollars provided new and improved latrines, electrical power, fresh water, computer training and improved security to make these schools healthier, safer and more attractive to parents struggling with the decision to send their children to school, or not.  To find out more about the Remember Niger Coalition, click here.  Kara VanderKamp, Cindy Carlson and Kara's Associate Cathy Hickman ae pictured below.