Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and Organizations
Escobar presents program to Rotary

The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, April 4, at the Neuharth Center on the USD campus.

President Mercy Hobbs opened the meeting and Father David Hussey provided the invocation. Three Vermillion High School seniors were introduced as guests and gave a brief presentation on their current involvement and future plans. They were Matthew Sand, Kevin Whitelightning and Johney Tsai. Other guests introduced were Bill Elsen and Dan Guyette.


Rotarian Tim Tracy introduced Dr. Fernando Escobar, MD, who presented a program on colorectal cancer. Dr. Escobar recently joined the Sioux Valley Vermillion Clinic in the field of general surgery. Dr. Escobar received his bachelor of science degree at the Francisco J. Majia Institute in Honduras and received his medical degree from the University of Yucatan School of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, and served 17 years in the field of general surgery in the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Escobar is certified with the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Escobar began his presentation by stating that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer. There are 1.2 million cases in the U.S. and approximately 150,000 new cases each year and 55,000 deaths per year nationwide. Roughly 90 percent of the cases occur in people 50 years or age or older. The condition is common in both men and women and African Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rate.

Risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol, physical inactivity, obesity and a high fat diet. All adults over 50 are at risk to some degree. There does seem to be an increased risk if there is a family history of colorectal cancer. It takes from 5 years to 10-15 years for the full development of carcinoma.

Dr. Escobar emphasized that screening for cancer can increase survivability greatly. He also stated that less than 50 percent of adults have been screened. Screening methods include fecal blood tests that can be done by a family physician; flexible sigmoidoscopy which examines the lower colon; and colonoscopy which examines the whole colon and can also remove polyps during the same procedure. All positive tests should be followed by a colonoscopy. Future tests, which are currently under examination, include stool DNA tests and virtual colonoscopy.

Dr. Escobar concluded by emphasizing that the barrier to detection isn't a lack of scientific data, but rather the lack of organizational, financial and societal will. He then took questions from the audience.

Rotarians learn of cartoon controversy

The weekly meeting of the Vermillion Rotary Club was held Tuesday, March 7. President Mercy Hobbs opened the meeting and Father David Hussey presented the invocation. Guests introduced by members were Dr. Ralph Brown and Romney Jones.

Member Barry Vickrey introduced the speaker for the program, Colonel Craig Nickisch, whose topic was "Unconventional Warfare and the Cartoon Controversy." Col. Nickisch was born in Belle Fourche and raised in Huron. He earned a bachelor's degree from SDSU, a master's from Northwestern and a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska/Lincoln.

He was an Army officer for 27 years and served with units in Central America, Europe and Asia. He served for 11 years on the faculty of West Point. He has received many service awards from the U.S. government as well as foreign governments. Craig is also a member of the Pocatello Rotary Club and has received several service awards from Rotary.

He began by pointing out many differences between our beliefs and those of the Islamic terrorists. Americans are, for the most part, isolationists mainly because of geography. We are largely ignorant of the history and geography of the rest of the world. We assume everybody is decent which helps us overlook evil. Americans believe law is important and that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. However in many instances we cannot use the law to bring terrorists to justice after the event.

On the other hand, Islamic terrorist groups have some beliefs on common. Islamic law is sufficient for everything. No separation between law and religion. Islamic law as expressed in the Koran is perfect.

They also believe that Islamic law is undermined by modernity. They wish to establish a seventh century caliphate and believe this can only be accomplished by violence. It is very difficult to negotiate with someone with this mind-set.

The terrorists realize they cannot win on a conventional battlefield. They are fighting a guerilla war for the minds of the population and to cause our government to over-react or to withdraw. They have also tried to start a civil war in Iraq, which hasn't succeeded. Craig gives our government an "A" for stopping terrorist actions but also gives them a "D" for not explaining unconventional warfare to our citizens.

With regard to the cartoon controversy, he said there has been a long history of using cartoons to poke fun at various individuals or groups. Cartoons make a good media show. The Danish cartoons have been misrepresented by some individuals to fuel unrest in the Middle East. He showed several examples from many periods of history to illustrate his point.

Above all, he thinks there will be a conflict of civilizations but feels that the U.S. government has been fairly sophisticated in their approach in the Middle East.

He ended his presentation by taking questions from the members.

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