Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and Organizations
Rotary learns of local Humane Society

The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly meeting Tuesday, April 24, at the Neuharth Center on the USD campus. President Roger Kozak called the meeting to order and Rev. Robert Grossmann gave the invocation.

Following the introduction of guests and the announcements, Rotarian Susan Tuve introduced Barbara Yelverton as the guest speaker. Ms. Yelverton is a member of the board of directors of the Heartland Humane Society.

She began her presentation with a short video produced by the St. Paul Humane Society, which described the need for the services that a Humane Society provides.

The local Yankton Area Humane Society was established in 2000. The society was reorganized in 2006 as the Heartland Humane Society covering the Yankton, Vermillion, and Hartington areas. A new board has been recruited with the expectation that board members will not only provide direction, but also provide financial support as well.

The mission is "to protect and enhance the lives of companion animals by promoting healthy relationships between pets and people." With a current budget of about $10,000 they cannot afford a building at this time. Instead they are focusing on a foster parent program.

This program provides "a safe place with loving care" for homeless pets until a permanent home can be found. The Heartland Humane Society provides vaccinations and spaying/ neutering for each animal. Volunteers who wish to become foster parents can call (605) 664-4241 or contact HHS at

For animals in this program HHS provides food, vaccinations, tests and medication, vet care by approval, and maintains communication with the foster family.

At present there are five foster families and 17 animals in foster care. Without such foster care the animals would have nowhere to go and would probably be euthanized.

A second focus for HHS is education. They provide speakers and programs for classrooms, community organizations, government organizations and churches to keep telling the story of responsible ownership and the importance of spaying and neutering to reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned animals.

HHS also has a development committee, which is actively seeking new members, donors and volunteers.

Challenges for the future include finding a permanent building, finding office space, recruiting foster families, establishing a mobile spay/ neuter program, and, of course, fund raising.

Ms. Yelverton then spent time answering questions from the audience.

Yankton Rotary guests of Vermillion Rotarians

The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly meeting on Tuesday, April 17, at the Neuharth Center on the USD campus. President Roger Kozak opened the meeting and Rev. Robert Grossmann gave the invocation.

President Kozak welcomed the Yankton Rotary Club members and two Vermillion High School seniors.

President Kozak also presented a check for $1,000 to Professor X. T. Wang for the Village Star Program, which assists students and teachers in rural China.

Rotarian Charles Yelverton conducted a bike helmet auction to promote Bike Helmet Day on Friday, April 27, at Austin School at 2 p.m. when all second-graders will be fitted with helmets.

Chris Tudor, president of the Yankton Rotary Club, presented greetings on behalf of their club.

President Kozak introduced Joel Nielsen, the athletic director at USD, as the speaker for the day. Joel began his presentation by announcing that a student at USD has received a NCAA Post-Graduate Award. This is the seventh such award given to a USD student athlete. In this regard, USD is ranked sixth in the country. He also reported that USD student athletes have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and that the graduation rate for USD student athletes is higher than the general student population. He expects this to continue because the graduation and academic requirements are higher in Division I than in Division II.

He introduced Frank Leibfarth as an example. USA TODAY included Frank on a list of Academic All-stars. Frank is also on the list of the top 20 student athletes in the country.

Nielsen reported that student athletes at USD did very well this past year. Coaches and players alike are very excited about the transition to Division I. Morale is high.

He states that 2007-2008 is the last year of the existence of the NCC, which started in 1922. The decision to move to Division I was not made lightly. The athletic department and the university have been working closely together with a consultant and the Foundation and have adopted a good strategic plan for the transition.

They are currently talking with the Mid-Continent Conference with a target date of 2009-2010 for affiliation of all sports and football in 2008 or 2009. Cost increases are expected to be about $2 million additional per year because of increased scholarship and travel expenses with some increases for inflation.

He closed by saying USD is a flagship institution and almost all flagship schools have Division I athletic programs. Many fans and other schools are saying it was about time. Coaches and athletes alike are looking forward to the challenge.

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