Posted by Keith Reed
There were 30 members and several guests present at the meeting. President Patti Van Cleave called the meeting to order and, because we were hosting members of the local Chamber of Commerce, gave a short description of what our Rotary Club does throughout the year. She mentioned the history of the Club starting in Chicago; the 70 Clubs in Northern Illinois and the 35,000 Clubs worldwide; our support of humanitarian and educational projects throughout the world; our local support projects like Coats for Kids and Kids Against Hunger and our giving to over 15 local charities; and our meeting dates and the speakers we present on timely topics. She introduced Peter Skalski, a retired businessman from Winnetka, to explain the importance of his 25-plus years of Club membership and what being a Rotarian has meant to him. Visiting guests  from the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce were: Luis Mota (Baird & Warner); Christopher Suess (Altamira Company); Jennifer Engel (Chicago North Shore Convention and Visitors group); Scott Edwards (EFG Image); Martyn Adelberg (Electronic Merchant Systems); Stephanie Sarris (Sarris Designs & Interiors); Ann Limjoco (Office of Congreswoman Schakowsky); Peter Hansen (Winnetka Living); and Dr. Barbara Pys (Center for Musculoskeletal Care). Ann Smith also represented the Chamber. Additional guests were Lenna Scott, new Executive Director of the  Counseling Center of the North Shore, and Ellie Schwimmer wife of member Fred for “55 plus years”. Fred was also celebrating his 82nd birthday and Heidi Sibert was about to celebrate one of her special birthdays—so in addition to giving appropriate contributions, they requested that we sing the Birthday song to them.
GUEST SPEAKER: Our speaker was Michael Martella, Winnetka’s first Economic Development Coordinator. He recently joined the Village staff after serving 7 years in a similar position in Bensenville. He will be developing and administering the Village’s economic development and business relations programs and will play an important role in implementing the Winnetka Downtown Master Plan. He stated that business retention was a key element to growth; that he is trying to reduce the number of business vacancies in the Village; that he is producing a “business registry” that can be used by the public to track vacancies and new businesses to the area; that he encourages customer satisfaction and, as equally important, the recognition of businesses who do a good job in achieving high marks in customer satisfaction; and that he is currently focusing on the parking problems in the Village’s commercial and retail areas.