Thirty-two members were in attendance at this week’s meeting.  We had one guest, visiting Rotarian, Bryan Anderson from the Waconda Rotary Club.  We also had Costa Kutulas,  representing the Park District.  Gina Sich mentioned that Costa was the one who organized the Park District employees who helped with the set-up and take-down of our Kids Against Hunger project the past several years.
Eric Birkenstein was given his ‘Moment to Shine.’  Eric is in the life insurance business and he chose to speak about “1035 Exchanges”  This is the ability to exchange an old life insurance policy for a new policy without any tax implications.  He works with clients to take advantage of new policies that offer free long term care policy as an added advantage, lower premiums, higher death benefits and more guarantees.
We were reminded that next week, November 5, we will be meeting at Avli Restaruant in the Laundry (at the corner of Spruce and Chestnut).  The cost of the lunch for guests and those who pay by the week will be $20 instead of $15.
Eric Birkenstein reported on the membership committee.  He mentioned that great programs and speakers are lined up through the end of the year.  He said it behooves the members to be on the lookout for guests and potential members to bring to our meetings.  He also mentioned that the committee was looking for a contact to Kerry Wood as they would love to get him to be a speaker in 2016.  This fall he purchased a home in Winnetka.
The club celebrated Sam Badger’s birthday.  Happy Buck$ were contributed this week by Bob Baker, Keith Reed, David Birkenstein Tom Nash, Rhonda Miller and Mark Kotz.
Barb Tubekis thanked Rotarians for their participation in last Saturday’s “Make a Difference Day.’  She said that it is likely that over 23,000 items were donated to the 14 organizations participating this year.
Patti Van Cleave for their contributions of items and cash to support local veterans in recovery from traumatic brain injuries who are being served at the Lovell Health Car Center.  We were supporting a project initiated by a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Our speaker for the week was Irwin Weil a professor of Russia and Russian Literature at Northwestern University.  He spoke about his recently publish book “From the Cincinnati Reds to the Moscow Reds.”  When he was a young boy growing up in Cincinnati his father was the owner of the Cincinnati Reds of the National League.  At an early age he became more interested in Russia and the Soviet Union than in baseball and passed up the chance to see the Reds in the World Series to go to a Russian film. 
Weil went to the University of Chicago and after reading Crime and Punishment by Dostroevsky in English he became determined to read the book in Russian.  The following year he began his studies of the Russian language.  In 1958 after President Eisenhower signed a cultural agreement with the Soviet Union he went to Russia to further his studies.  He has visited Moscow more than 100 times and was invited to set up a Russian–American studies program in Moscow in the 1990s.
Professor Weil shared his insights on the Russian people whom he found to be wonderful and very hospitable.  He knows that both Russia and the U.S. put out lots of propaganda which demonizes the other country.  In the past many of the everyday Russians did not believe all of the propaganda that their government was putting out because they lied to their people about so many other things that they had difficulty believing the politburo of the Communist Soviet Union.