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Tuesday, November 12, 2019 By: John P. Gibbons

District Vocational Training Team Returns From Zambia

Last November, 2018, a District Rotary Vocational Training Team (VTT) flew to Zambia in Africa for 3 weeks and taught 11 local small farmers near Chongwe village improved methods for growing corn. The VTT Project was financed with our District DDF funds matched by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. The Team was led by farmer PDG Eric Dolbeare, with team members retired agronomist John Meece, and AgriGold Regional Agronomist (and farmer) Todd Steinacher. While there, the VTT Team worked with the Nkwazi Rotary Club in Lusaka, and with African Vision of Hope, a charitable organization that has five K-12 schools and its own farm in Zambia.

The Team found that small farming methods there are primitive, comparable to farming in Illinois 100+ years ago. Many of the farmers have only a hoe as their primary farm implement. The VTT Team helped these farmers improve their production by the proper implementation of modern growing procedures and equipment such as, hybrid corn seed, proper fertilizers, crop protection chemicals, a hand sprayer, and an ox-drawn planter/fertilizer machine. .


Members of the VTT Team and VTT Chair Lee Malany and his son returned to Zambia several times to assist the farmers while the crops were growing, and then returned again after the harvest in May, 2019 to measure the crop yields. The results were spectacular – despite suffering from a severe drought, the participating farmers’ VTT method crop was on average 230% better than their traditional crop.

Our VTT Program has been successful, assisting local people in Zambia to grow more food to feed their families and neighbors in a country where 40% of the people do not have enough food to eat and many children die of starvation. The participating farmers have all agreed to continue the new way of farming, and to show the methods to at least 3 of their neighbors. Our District needs to sustain and spread the benefits of our VTT program throughout Zambia. The District VTT Committee has plans in place for VTT Team members to return to Zambia this Fall to teach their program to 30 more subsistence farmers, and to continue in successive crop years until they attain a cadre of 100 to 150 trained and experienced farmers in the Chongwe area. Then a co-op can be formed so that group of farmers can join together for mutual assistance, equipment, purchasing, operational and marketing support.

Our District Governor and District officers have allocated $15,000 of District funds, and several clubs in the District have also pledged contributions to this second crop- year program. URGENT NEED - Please consider making a contribution to help send our VTT Team to Zambia this November to help with the cost of this year’s crop and training – contact Global Grants Chair John Gibbons at or VTT Chair Lee Malany, Plans are also being made for a long-range program to continue and spread this worthy program throughout Zambia.


                                       In the above photographs the corn on the left was grown by their traditional method, and the corn on the right was grown by the VTT Team method.

Vadalabene Bike Trail

Saturday, September 21, 2019 By: Larry L. Thompson
Recently, The Alton Telegraph reprinted a photo and caption showing the dedication of the first part of the Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail which runs from Alton to Marquette Park along one of the most beautiful streches of scenic beauty in the world. Going upstream along the westward section of the Mississippi River toward the confluence of the Illinois River beneath the limestone palisades and past the village of Elsah and Chautauqua, the trail is one of the treasures of our community.

(Caption) The Piasa Bicycle Trail winds its way along the edge of the scenic bluffs above Alton, providing beautiful scenery and safe bicycling to thousands each year who use the trail. The bike patch was developed by the Junior League of Greater Alton and Piasa Bicycle Trail , Inc. With the help of State Senator Sam Vadalabene, the state approval and funding were attained. The trail was formally dedicated in 1976, with ‘Senator Sam’ cutting the symbolic ribbon in an appropriate manner.

The Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club has included a goal to make our community more bicycle friendly, and has created a committee to work toward that goal. This year the club asked the Bucket Brigade if we could paint the bike trail railing runing from Hoffman Park and in front of the Great Rivers Land Trust office. Our original effort to paint was dampened by the flood of 2019, but Saturday, September 21 members of the club and friends changed a rusted eyesore into a shining part of the trail.

The Trail is described in Wikipedia as:

The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail, is a paved 21.5 mile biking/walking trail located in southwestern Illinois, located just north of the St. Louis, Missouri core urban area.

The trail was named after Sam M. Vadalabene, a member of the Illinois Senate. The trail parallels both the Mississippi River and the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway and was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2006.[1] The trail is included as part of the Confluence Greenway.

The south end of the trail is located at Piasa Park, located about five miles northwest of Alton, and the north end of the trail is located at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton. Other attractions along the trail include the village of ElsahChautauqua, the city of Grafton, limestone bluffs rising up to 250 feet (75 m) high, and the Marquette Monument.

The original fifteen miles of the trail were completed in 1979. At the south end of the trail, connections can be made to both the Confluence Trail and the Katy Trail.

District Newsletter – “4-Way Today”

District Events

DACdb University: ezBulletin
November 19th 2019
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Clone-DCO (District Communications Officer) quarterly meeting
January 9th 2020
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PETS Orientation / Presidents Mid Year Summit
February 1st 2020
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Midwest PETS
Mar 6th - Mar 8th 2020
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District Team Training Seminar (DTTS)
March 21st 2020
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Rotary Leadership Youth Academy (RYLA) 2020
Apr 17th - Apr 19th 2020
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District Assembly
April 25th 2020
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Zones 30-31 Honolulu Fellowship Event & Luau
June 7th 2020
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