District 6950 Rotarians in Action

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  • The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon donates dry and non perishable food items to the Sunrise Domestic and Sexual Violence Center. Rotary clubs are making a difference in the community and around the world.
  • The Rotary Club of Kings Bay One Rake at a Time service project includes broader efforts to improve water quality, clarity, and quantity to Kings Bay and Crystal River. The club partners with other area organizations such as the YMCA to increase their effectiveness.
  • Rotarians from the Port Richey and Trinity clubs installing water filtration systems in a remote mountainous area of Honduras. Pure Water for the World is one of many non-profit aid organizations that has has sprung from and is supported by Rotarians from around the world.
  • Rotarians raising awareness of the continuing fight against polio. After 25 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It is a window of opportunity of historic proportions.
  • My name is Ally Vincent. I graduated from Saint Leo University in May 2014 with my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. Starting in September, I will be living in Scotland and studying Special Education at the University of Edinburgh as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar. See my blog here by clicking on the photo!

2016 Rotary District 6950 Conference


Pre-Register for 2016 District Conference Cruise April 14-18, 2016

Feel the cool sea-breeze in your hair, the warmth of the Mexican sun on your face, and endless activities to create great family vacation memories. A cruise, a conference, and the opportunity to share the Rotary spirit by meeting the Rotary Club of Cozumel and participating in a shore project to benefit their local community. District Governor Will Miller invites you to join him on Royal Caribbean’s “Brilliance of the Seas” for an unforgettable “Family of Rotary” District Conference Cruise! Registration information is available in brochure PDF. Rotary District 6950 Conference 2016 - Royal Caribbean

Rotary @ the Rays turns 15!

Please join your fellow Rotarians at the 15th consecutive Rotary at the Rays game on Sunday, August 30!
Please join your fellow Rotarians at the 15th consecutive Rotary at the Rays game on Sunday, August 30! A portion of your ticket price will be donated to our Rotary Foundation – in fact, over $86,000 has been donated through this Rotary at the Rays event over the past 15 years! The President of the club with the highest attendance will be invited to throw out the first pitch. There are three ticket level options: Upper level ($21 ea), Outfield ($28 ea), and Lower Reserved ($45 ea, includes a ball cap). Tickets can be purchased by contacting PDG Gene Beil at 727-868-2306 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Ticket Deadline August 15. More details on the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/617336205066481/ So come on out to Tropicana Field and cheer on our Rays as they take on the Kansas City Royals! First pitch at 1:10PM – gates open at 11:10. Please share any tailgating plans on the Facebook event or the District 6950 Facebook Page!

Rotary Club of Crystal River Awards $16,500 in Scholarships To Crystal River High School Interact Students

The Rotary Club of Crystal River recently partnered with the Rotary District 6950 2015-16 District Scholarship Grant program to award $5,500 scholarships each to Tina Vo, Marin Williams and Angela Byrne. All three scholars are deserving Crystal River High School Interact Club members. The scholarship is made available to assist Interact Club members pursue their educational futures. Each scholarship applicant was required to complete a lengthy application. The applications were evaluated on demonstrated need, program of study, volunteer history for past 4 years including emphasis of involvement with Rotary, Interact, or other service organization, as well as the other information requested in the application. Applicants selected by the Rotary Club of Crystal River were forwarded to District 6950 to select students to receive scholarships of $5,500. Rotary District 6950 covers Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus Counties and consists of 47 Rotary clubs. Each Rotary club in the District was invited to submit applicants. The Rotary Club of Crystal River is proud that all 3 CRHS Interact members submitted were chosen to receive a scholarship. There were five scholarships in total given by the District. The other two winning scholars were sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Tarpon Springs and Brooksville. The CRHS students will use these scholarship funds to advance their education and have all indicated a life committed to the motto of Rotary: Service Above Self.

Tarpon Springs Bali Rice Straw Bale Project Nears Completion



Rotary logo carved into door frame for Bali Rice Straw Bale Project (photo credit: Jeni Kardinal)

Rice.  In Bali, rice is more than just a staple food, its fields dominate the Bali landscape and its farming tradition is an integral part of the Balinese culture.  The dominant rice growing area of Bali produces three to four crops per year with the highest production yields in the world.  But the burning of the rice straw after harvest creates a significant negative impact on air quality, leading to respiratory illness among those living in proximity to the rice fields.

Jeni Kardinal, a California licensed architect, and her husband Frank Hyde, also an architect, live in Bali with their daughter.  Jeni observed this cycle and believed that instead of burning, the rice straw could be adapted as building material for homes and other structures.  Working independently, she developed a concept of how to compress the straw into bales and use these in place of block or wood in the walls of a building.

Jeni has an uncle in Rotary, Robert Alderman, a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs.  After hearing about Jeni’s ideas, Robert presented Jeni’s vision to the club and saw it adopted and turned into a District grant proposal.  The club was awarded a 2014-15 District 6950 grant to develop this building method in Bali and to train local villagers to create these structures.  Partner clubs in this grant include the Rotary Clubs of Dunedin, Dunedin North, Holiday, and the Rotary Club of Bali Taman.

In August 2014, the first site visit was made to the village of Nawa Kerti and a location selected—a flat field across a dirt road from the village’s school.  The field had been used to grow sweet potatoes, an alternate staple food of the Balinese.  Kadek Suardana, a hard working Balinese man from the village of Nawa Kerti known previously to Jeni Kardinal and Frank Hyde through work reconstructing sailing yachts in Denpesar, facilitated Jeni’s introduction to the villagers and was selected as the foreman of the project.

Jeni and Frank designed a manual press to construct the rice straw bales and had it fabricated by Balinese craftsmen they knew from Frank’s work on yachts.  With this press, the compression of rice straw into bales began in the village of Nawa Kerti using waste rice straw that farmers where happy to donate from their fields.

Initial testing on the moisture content of the straw indicated that it needed to be dried in sunny fields prior to being compressed into bales.  The months of September and October were used to collect straw, dry the straw and to form the first pressed bales.  Twine created from bamboo was procured to secure the bales while transported and stored.  Compression rating and moisture content testing of the bales passed with satisfactory results.

In late September, the site was blessed on a date selected by the village Manku (the Hindu priest).  For the ceremony, a bamboo altar was built on the site and offerings were brought by the villagers including floral arrangements, young coconuts, holy water and traditional foods.  A black chick was required for the ceremony as well.  These offerings were buried in trenches dug below the foundations for protection, including the black chick who was sacrificed.  The priest blessed the site and the participants of the ceremony to protect all from evil and ensure success.  Each corner of the building was poked three times with a three-pronged ceremonial stick and then blessed with holy water.  With the conclusion of the ceremony, we were now able to proceed with building the foundation. 

Jeni’s goal was to use materials that were available within the village or near buy where ever possible and to reuse or recycle waste materials in the construction of the building.  Her research resulted in a foundation made of stones and rocks, held together with cement, and supporting meter-long rebar posts to support the first course of bales.  Future buildings will use bamboo in place of the rebar, since a way to add insecticide to the bamboo has been developed.  Jeni also determined that the plaster which would cover the bales post construction would be stronger if a support material was added between coats.  Fishing nets past their useful life on boats made a great support material and was able to be collected from fishermen who were discarding it.  This was anchored by the foundation and covered with dirt, to be used later during plastering.  The foundation work was completed in October.

There was significant urgency to have all the bales made as soon as possible since the monsoon season for Bali can begin as early as November.  The project, funded with a District 6950 grant, needed to be completed in late March, which meant that construction need to continue during the wet season.

Bales were made in two sizes.  The large bales are 1 meter by .5 meters by .5 meters. The small bales are .5 meters on each side, half the size of a large bale.  The building plans drawn by Jeni required 70 large bales and 40 small bales.  The fabrication of the bales was completed in November, the bales were covered and stored until the walls were constructed.  Bamboo was also collected for the support of the walls and for the framing of the roof.


Rotarian women from Nawa Kerti (red shirts) and Tarpon Springs (blue shirt) compressing a rice straw bale in the press (photo credit: Kadek Suardana)

As the monsoon neared, a framework for a tarp was constructed over the building site.  This was completed just in time for the start of the monsoon which in 2014 held off until late November.  In Bali, the monsoon is a rainy period, but Bali doesn’t experience the deluge of rain we think of associated with the monsoons of India and other regions.  With tarps in place, work could proceed during the monsoon months of December, January and February. 

A means to spray borax and boron-based insecticide through the bamboo was developed by Jeni and Kadek in late November using a hand-pumped pressure pump to disperse the powders and a balloon at the far end to collect the remaining residue powder.  The bamboo was treated in December and construction on the walls began.  Walls went up quickly and work began on the roof trusses. 

In January the trusses were completed and the roof was installed, constructed of grass shakes. A roof vent was included to allow warm air to escape through the vent during the warm season. The electric for the building was also roughed in. 

The plaster composition that would coat the straw was mixed and tested on leftover bales in February.  Jeni wanted a natural material plaster that would breathe with the bales.  Concrete plaster does not breathe and would cause the bales over time to rot. She tried locally available materials in different concentrations and wound up preferring a combination of clay mixed with straw bits and rice husks and combined with a cactus-saturated water.  The straw bits and rice husks add tensile strength to the plaster while the cactus-saturated water provides elasticity to the plaster and improves weather resistance.

The windows and door construction also began in February.  The Balinese are skilled in carving wood, so elegant window coverings and door framing were planned.  Rotarians, when visiting the project will know that the project was funded by Rotary since the center vent over the front door is the Rotary wheel.  In addition, a plaque showing the clubs who supported this project will be placed on the side of the building once the work is completed.

The front door front door frame featuring the Rotary logo carved into the vent (photo credit: Jeni Kardinal)

In early March, the first plaster coat was applied.  This initial rough coat will take approximately three weeks to dry and will be followed by an additional rough coat and then finished with a smooth coat.  Once the last coat is applied, the finish electrical work will be completed. 


The Nawa Kerti Straw Bale building with first plaster coat (photo credit: Jeni Kardinal)

The flooring will also be installed in March.  To provide a good look with a minimum of cost, Jeni has planned a concrete floor with groves to replicate the look of tile. 

There are a number of collateral opportunities that have arisen from this District grant.  First, Jeni became a Rotarian, a member of the Rotary Club of Bali Taman.  Second, the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs has developed a friendship with the Rotary Club of Bali Taman and visits have been planned and made.  Third, Kadek and his crew have already been approached by a business nearby to provide straw bales for use as noise insulation.  Fourth, the governor of Bali has already sent his representatives to see the project.

Lastly, a company that runs the spas at the larger hotels in Bali, Aroma Spa Retreat, has been seeking a local source of coconut oil to use in their spas.  The owner of Aroma Spa Retreat, who knows Jeni through their children’s school, offered support to provide training to the villagers and raise funding for equipment if the building could be used for the production of coconut oil.  Coconuts are plentiful in the village and the villagers are very excited to have the opportunity for local economic opportunities which will help preserve their village way of life.  This is the plan for the building.


Rotarian Jeni Kardinal with Foreman Kadek Suardana in front of the Rice Straw Bale Building’s ‘Truth Window’ (photo credit: Jeni Kardinal)

Jeni Kardinal will be speaking at the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs’ lunch meeting on 2 April 2015, and at the Rotary Club of Holiday’s lunch meeting on 7 April 2015.  Interested Rotarians are encouraged to attend these meetings.  Jeni’s work is groundbreaking and original and this is a chance to hear her speak of the challenges she has faced in this project.

The village has already begun construction on a second straw bale building which is hoped to house a water filtration system.  The Rotary Club of Bali Taman located a filtration system that was not being used, and funding is being sought to connect it to a source of water to provide clean water for the village. 

Jeni has had several ideas for future straw bale projects in other villages to spur economic development including using these structures for home stay opportunities, and a hut-to-hut village-to-village hiking trek.  She is also considering straw-bale built libraries in villages that do not have libraries.

Jeni Kardinal, the architect for the Bali Straw Bale project, will be speaking at the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs’ lunch meeting on 2 April 2015, and at the Rotary Club of Holiday’s lunch meeting on 7 April 2015. 

This article has been written by Carrie Root.  Photographs are credited to Jeni Kardinal

2015 Polio NID Trip to India Announced

polio1Howard Tours has announced a trip to India to participate in the February 2015 polio National Immunization Days (NID.) There is a limited amount of space and it is expected that this trip to be filled within the next week or two.

Since January 2011, there has been only ONE new confirmed case of polio in India. In 2012, India was removed from the list of polio endemic countries. We are getting remarkably close to eradicating polio globally. Therefore, this might be one of the last opportunities we will have to organize a trip to India to participate in polio NID activities. This trip offers you and the Rotarians in your club and District an extraordinary opportunity to have an experience of a life time.

The program will travel to Delhi, India, where you will participate in the polio NID activities and attend other related Rotary events. This trip also includes travel to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, and Jaipur to visit the famous Rotary Jaipur Limb factory, and enjoy this extraordinary city.

Date of Departure: Friday, February 13, 2015

Date of Return: Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Per Person Cost, based on double occupancy: $2,099. This price does not include international, roundtrip airfare or Indian visa fees. However, it does include hotels, transfers, Rotary events, participation in the NID activities, most meals, sightseeing, English speaking guide and other items as stated in the attached document.

Air Reservations: Participants are free to secure their own air reservations using their frequent flyer mileage, or individual purchase. Howard Tours will be happy to help you purchase airline tickets, which can be requested on the trip application.

Visas: All U.S. citizens will need to secure an Indian visa. Howard Tours will give their members specific information about how to secure the visa when they send the confirmation documents. It is important that travelers do not attempt to secure the Indian visa before receiving their information.

Travel Vaccines: It is recommended that all participants visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/india.htm to determine what vaccinations may be needed for this trip.  Members should visit this web site, print out the material and visit a doctor, or travel doctor, to determine what vaccinations or treatments may be needed for this trip.

This group will be limited to approximately 35 people, and confirmation in the program will be on a first come, first served basis. To join this trip, please complete and sign the application on page five of the attached document. Please make sure to include the requested credit card authorization for the cost of the program. Over the last two years, this program sold out in less than two weeks. It is expected to sell out just as quickly this year. If you are planning to go, immediate action is strongly suggested. Remember...we are this close!

What is Rotary?

wheel smallRotary is an organization of business, professional and community leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.