In January of 2011 retired Saugerties (NY) English teacher Nancy Lanni visited Haiti, with a construction team helping repair the damage. While there, she was invited to teach as a substitute, where she observed first-hand the emotional as well as physical damage to the young children on the remote island of La Gonáve, a primitive land where people still live in stone huts and use donkeys for transportation and farming. Schools in Haiti are not free, so only about 50% of children attend one in this impoverished land. Ms. Lanni decided to continue teaching in Haiti, learning Creole, the language of Haiti, and also began raising money for a school on La Gonáve where currently all six grades are taught in one room of a community church. Using local labor and materials paid for by money Ms. Lanni raised in the U.S., a new, earthquake-resistant, six-room schoolhouse is about to open at the start of 2015. The inspiring story of how this was accomplished is the subject of the RadioRotary interview.
Volunteer Neil Isabelle discusses the Catskill Mountain Railroad, two different scenic trips on vintage rail cars through the picturesque Esopus Creek valley in Ulster Country, NY, and through the historic city of Kingston, NY. Special rides in the fall showcase the autumn foliage and in winter there is the Polar Express. Summer rides are also available in July and August that are timed for the full moon. These rides, and some others, also feature music or other entertainment. Isabelle became interested in the trains by volunteering at the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia, NY, another tourist attraction in Ulster County.
Newburgh Rotarian Doug Martin Sturomski, the recently appointed Peace Chair of Rotary District 7210, is interviewed about his efforts to help reach the peace goal of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation through Peace Bells and Peace Poles. His Peace Bell Foundation, started in 2009, emphasizes the connection between ringing bells and freedom and peace, while he has become one of the most enthusiastic promoter of the Peace Pole. A Peace Pole is a large pole that carries the message “may peace prevail on Earth” in eight languages. In addition to the interview, listeners can also hear Doug play a little Beethoven on the bells.
Jeffrey Urbin, Education Specialist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, tells the RadioRotary audience about the history and recent renovations of the Library, which was the first presidential library in the United States, having been designed by Roosevelt himself in 1941. The new Library features new technology to make history come alive better for today’s visitors. Another change is that the Library now takes on the controversial issues of Roosevelt’s four terms, such as the development of the first nuclear weapons and FDR’s health issues. The program also features comments about the National Park Service building visitors can visit—Springwood, Top Cottage, and Val-Kill.