Russell Hampton
ClubRunner Mobile
Jul 07, 2020
Changing of the Guard
Jul 14, 2020
Affordable Housing
Jul 21, 2020
Healthy Food for All People
Jul 28, 2020
Jackson Public Schools
Aug 04, 2020
Sanderson Farms Championship
Aug 11, 2020
Aug 25, 2020
Racial Reconcilation
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Bulletin Editor
Bill Osborne
Executives & Directors
Vice President
Director - Membership
Immediate Past President
Director - Public Relations
Director - Club Administration
Director - Club Service
Executive Secretary
At a special board meeting on July 2, the officers and directors of the Rotary Club of North Jackson reluctantly made the decision to suspend our plans to come back for in-person meetings at the Rickhouse next week. Based on the sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in our area, the Board felt it would be best to revisit our timeline in the coming weeks as things continue to develop.
We know that many of our members are anxious to return to in-person meetings (as are we), but we want to do it in the safest way possible. In the meantime, we will continue our weekly meetings on Zoom and we have some outstanding programs/speakers lined up including our annual changing of the guard ceremony next Tuesday, July 7th. We have a lot to share with you about your Club’s efforts and achievements over the past Rotary year and plans for this coming year. We will also be introducing our incoming officers and board members, so please plan to tune in. We will be sending out a link to the Zoom meeting soon.
Thank you!
Lee Carney
President, Rotary Club of North Jackson
Zoom meeting invites with the link and password will be sent to all club members on Mondays. The Zoom meetings will continue to start at noon on Tuesdays with club member fellowship with the meeting starting at 12:15 p.m. If you have any issues connecting to the Zoom meeting or would like the link sent to you, please email me at

Here are links to recordings of the Zoom meetings

If you have difficulty getting the video to open. Just type the address into your browser's address bar and it should work. 
June 30, Mike Forster, Chair and CEO, Mississippi Coding Academies.
June 23, Jim Richmond, Vice President, Marketing, C Spire.
June 16, Dr. Alan Jones, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Chair & Professor Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), "How UMMC Prepared for the COVID-19 Pandemic."
June 9, Dr. Scott Crawford, Livable Cities and Disabilities Advocate.
June 2, Jane Clover Alexander, President & CEO, Community Fund for Mississippi.
May 26, Keith Carter, Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics, Univesity of Mississippi (Ole Miss).
May 19, John Gibson, Director of Television, Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
May 12. Lakeysha Greer Isaac, 2019-2020 President, Junior League of Jackson
May 5, Honoring North Jackson Star Students and Teachers:
April 28, Tavia Cavett, Director of MBHS's Employee Assistance Program:
April 21, David Mars, Pilot & Adventurer
April 14 - Haley Fisackerly, Pres. & CEO, Entergy MS
April 7: Bob Miller City of Jackson Public Works director
March 31: Nelson Atehortua, MD, PhD
Prayer. Loving God, we pray for those adversely affected by the Coronavirus and for those working to manage the disease it causes.

As with Americans everywhere, we commemorate the hard-won independence which marks our nation, we are humbly grateful for patriots of the past who made freedom a reality for us. As parades wind their ways through our communities, as flags are waved and songs of freedom are sung, help us to appreciate, but also to look beyond the ceremonies to the living reality of freedom we experience. Let the speeches be made be more than empty rhetoric. Let them be genuine calls to the responsible use of freedom in everyday life.

Along with gratitude for the profound blessing of freedom, we give thanks for the mundane gifts of life, including food and fellowship by which we are nourished and enriched. Amen.


Club Announcements:



  • Lori Greer                                   July 11
  • Trost Friedler                             July 12
Wedding Anniversaries:
  • John & Helene Dorsa                  July 09
Membership Anniversaries
  • None
Mississippi Coding Academies Chair and CEO Speaks to Rotary Club of North Jackson

Michael “Mike” Forster, Chair and CEO of the Mississippi Coding Academies spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the club’s June 30 meeting. Mr. Forster is an electrical engineering graduate of Mississipi State University. He began his career with IBM, achieving the level of division vice president. He then moved to Munich Germany as President and GM of international operations for Prime Computer. After his return to the USA in 1993, he had two successful experiences as CEO of mid-sized software companies, taking them both to successful exits for the investors.


Mike and his wife, Bettye, came back to their hometown of Louisville, MS, in 1998.  Mike is an elder at First Presbyterian Church, teaches the adult Sunday School class, and is a member of the Louisville Rotary Club.  Mike is an avid pilot with more than 3000 hours in the cockpit, flying his Cirrus aircraft for both business and philanthropic work.  

He is currently president of a family-owned company in the helicopter aerial application business. In addition, he serves as president of Louisville’s airport board, and as director and executive committee member of InnovateMS.  In his spare time, he is serving as Board Chair of a Mississippi-based healthcare-company.

The purpose of his presentation to the Rotary Club of North Jackson was to tell us about an exciting venture that he and fellow Rotarian Rich Sun co-founded, the MS Coding Academies.  

He began his speech stating the fact that the state of Mississippi graduates 1540 Computer Science graduates annually to fill 1,000 open jobs. The purpose of the coding academies is to have high school graduates spend a year becoming coders so that the quantity of coding done overseas in Asia can be reduced. Program graduates become what are called “Full Stack” coders.  

The term “Full Stack” means that students will be working with every layer in the “stack” of a typical web application: user interface, front end (browser), middle tier, and back end (server and database). In addition to coding, the program focuses on teaching the students to become disciplined team players. The program runs 40 hr. per week and takes a full 11-month academic year. There is no homework.

Typical new students are high school graduates working minimum wage jobs in the restaurant industry. When they successfully complete the program they are typically hired with base salaries of around $40,000 annually. The program is highly intensive. Potential employers attend the classes. Instructors must have a “real world” coding experience with attitude and work ethics being paramount. 

Currently, there are three coding academies in the program: Water Valley, Starkville, and Jackson. The program expects to ultimately graduate 80 - 100 new coders annually. Today, they have graduated 82 coders in the 2017-2020 period. Those graduates have seen salary increases of $850,000 per year from their pre-academy levels. Most of the enrollees are from a diverse population with females and African-Americans making up most of the classes.

CSpire is a full partner in the program as is Comcast who funds the program for Veterans. There is no cost to the attendee to participate in the program, but the full cost is about $17K per year for civilian attendees and about $8k for veterans.

The academies intend to create MS Code Works to perform coding work that is now outsourced to Asia. What the founders expect is to outsource the work to Mississippi, not Asia when the Code Works is up and running. 

The expectation of the founders is to increase the level of diversity in technical jobs, reduce the gap between jobs and talent. The academies can be viewed as apprenticeship programs where the students learn to follow a 9-5 Monday- Friday schedule.

The academies are recruiting for their next cohort of students with classes to start in August. Currently, there are 60 prospective students in the screening process. 

We thank Mike for his presentation and for his work with the coding academies.

C Spire Vice President Speaks to Rotary Club of North Jackson

Jim Richmond, Vice President, Marketing of C Spire spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the Club’s June 23, 2020, meeting. Mr. Richmond joined what was then Cellular South in South West Mississippi in 1991. He is a graduate of Mississipi State University. He serves on the Mississippi State University Foundation board and the boards of several Banks and financial institutions. He and his wife Jennifer have two daughters, one of whom is in Medical Schools at UMMC and the other is affiliated with Clinton Public Schools.

Richmond commented that C Spire is a heavy user of Online systems that permit many of its employees to work remotely even in “normal” times. He said that C Spire has multiple lines of business:

  • Wireless Division which was started in 1988 as Cellular South. Prior to entering the mobile communications business, the company had a landline business that was formed in 1950. The wireless division has footprints in Mississippi, Memphis, and Mobile. The company is convenience focused and is offering appointments, curbside service, and self serve web options available to clients. The wireless business unit is working on 5G service which is in progress. C Spire currently has some 5G sites in operation The company is the largest privately held wireless company in the US. 

  • Business Division with offices in Hattiesburg, Mobile, Birmingham, and several Tennessee cities.  It focuses on Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The business division has customers in 38 states. It has a large variety of offerings, including VOIP, cloud data storage, premier hardware offerings, and acts as a consultant to its customers. The business division is highly ranked nationally as a premier service provider to its IT customers.

  • Home Division which was created in 2013,  provides service to 23 Mississippi cities and will expand to Alabama in July. It offers gigabit fiber, Mesh wifi, and has a dedicated blue shoe crew.

  • Other areas in which C Spire is involver are:

    • Health where the company launched a telehealth application for physicians to use in2019. This was expanded in 2020 to permit consumers to contact  UMMC to schedule a COVID-19 test. The best example of this application was when it was launched to use to schedule tests at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in the Spring of 2020.

    •  The Tech Movement with

      • Basecamp Coding Academy

      • C3 Coding Challenge

      • Software Development Pathway

These are aimed at creating more people with coding and programming skills

  • C Spire is part of a Rural Broadband Consortium that is working to expand the availability of internet technology to rural areas

  • The Mission Network (Mississippi Optical Network)  is a network that connects research institutions in Mississippi with other similar institutions throughout the country. It offers 100-gigabit connectivity to participants.

  • C Spire Foundation

    • Founded to focus on STEM initiatives, education, digital literacy, and workforce development

    • Provided scholarship funding to the 8 Mississippi Universities

    • Supports numerous STEM activities in Mississippi to help increase the pursuit of computer science in the state. These include, for example,  the basecamp coding academy, the Mississippi Children’s Musem Science Fest, and The C Spire Coding Challenges

When COVID-19 struck, C Spire was prepared. The company already had plans in place to deal with hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. Many of their representatives were already working remotely. Richmond said that his marketing personnel were already dispersed throughout their service area. The management team conducted daily update calls to check on personnel, network status, COVID trends, and other issues. C Spire has some 1705 employees so they had to make preparations for those not already doing so to work remotely. These update calls have now decreased in frequency to 3 days per week compared with the all-day calls on Saturdays at the beginning.

C Spire Cares is the initiative that the company has developed to help its costumers during the pandemic. The saying is that “our network has you covered.” People working from home, increased demand for video streaming service, etc had tested the network., but the network has performed. The company increased its access to streaming services by 50% to help its customers. 

CSpire developed Pop-up hot spots to allow students in underserved areas to continue schooling with the libraries and other access points shut down. The objective was to Keep America Connected. This program gave customers more time to pay bills and waived overage charges. During this time the business division representatives increased their consultant roles to their customers.

The company achieved sales records daily during the first part of the COVID shutdowns. It focused on increasing safety measures for employees and customers. At some locations, the installation representatives had to FaceTime the new customers and guide them through the installation of their new hardware.

CSpire also became internally focused during this period. They were concerned about the health of the employees. They initiate an internal Morning Show three or four days a week and also used direct emails to the employees and workplace posts. They also formed a safe return to the office team to plan for getting people back to their offices.

What’s Next?

  • Things are different now than they were before the pandemic struck.

  • C Spire will look for new opportunities. 

  • They will have a press conference on July 16 announcing the expansion of their home service into Alabama with service to begin in the fall.

  • The company will look for new initiatives in:

    • Health

    • Universities

    • Expanding its service area

We thank Richmond for his presentation and for the very good work that C Spire does. The following photo is from his Linked In profile:

Chair & Professor,  Department of Emergency Medicine, UMMC Speaks to North Jackson Rotary 
Dr. Alan E. Jones Chair and Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the club’s June 16, 2020, meeting. Effective July 7, Dr. Jones will become Assistant Vice Chancellor of UMMC. The topic of Dr. Jones’ presentation was how UMMC prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.


Dr. Jones is a 1994 graduate of Millsaps College where he studied Molecular Biology. He is a 1999 graduate of UMMC. Following UMMC did his residency at the Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) which was followed by a fellowship at CMC and MS in Public Health Coursework at University of North Carolina Charlotte. He remained on staff at CMC until 2011 when he returned to UMMC. 

With respect to COVID-19, Dr. Jones said that in December 2019 & January 2020, UMMC recognized that COVID-19 was coming to Mississippi and that they needed to be prepared to deal with it. In late January, the COVID -19 team was mobilized. By early March the clinical response was set up. They recognized that the virus is highly contagious and that it needed to be contained to protect both the patients and medical staff. They established a 3 level approach to addressing the Virus:

  • Level 1 - Conventional - continue with normal operations

  • Level 2 - Contingency - not normal, but also not substandard operations

  • Level 3 - Crisis - likely substandard operations 

The team saw the crisis in New York City and Washington State and about to happen nearby in New Orleans and recognized it would soon be in Mississippi and all over the US. At that point, Mississippi was 2-4 weeks behind the rest of the US. All elective and urgent procedures were canceled. Telehealth was extended to provide care to patients.

Post spring break, any employee who had traveled to high-risk areas were considered to have been exposed and was quarantined for 14 days. The labor pool was re-deployed to contend with the virus. The team focused heavily on the supply chain. Items that were normally readily available, were suddenly in short supply. UMMC was fortunate in that based on the 2009 flu epidemic experience, it had sufficient ventilators. They had also learned that the patient rooms had to operate in a negative pressure environment to prevent spreading the virus. COVID units and COVID staff members were designated. 

UMMC developed a COVID-19 test in 2 - 2 1/2 weeks. One of those tests has a 49 minute turnaround time (TAT) and the other a 6 hr. TAT. These tests have helped make testing more available and more widespread in Mississippi. 

As time passed this spring UMMC has developed protocols for making ethical, potentially end of life decisions. The team has focused on planning for a 30-month response to the virus in the event an effective vaccine isn't developed. At this point, nearly 10 weeks into the process, no UMMC healthcare workers have been contaminated with the virus due to the procedures and processes that have been developed. The system is now considered to be reliable and reproducible. The result of the stable process is that on 28 May, UMMC resumed performing urgent procedures. Elective surgeries were resumed one week later, and now they are back to normal operations, except there are still 60 patients in the COVID Unit. The maximum was 80.

We thank Dr. Jones for his presentation and for his service to the citizens of Mississippi. The following photo is from his faculty profile. 



Livable Cities Advocate Speaks to Rotary Club of North Jackson

Dr. Scott M. Crawford, a Livable Cities and Disabilities Advocate, spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the club’s June 9, 2020, meeting. Dr. Crawford received his undergraduate education at Millsaps College and his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Following the completion of his Ph.D., he pursued a Post Doc at the University of Miami. In 2002 he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis and has been dependent on a motorized wheelchair for mobility since then. He is the past Chair of the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities. 

The title of Dr. Crawford’s presentation was “Building Livable Communities for All.”  He focused on what Jackson needs to do to become a city that is livable for all of its citizens, including those with disabilities. Key points in his presentation were:

  • Accessible affordable integrated housing

  • Universal Design

  • Welcoming to people of all backgrounds, abilities, and income levels

  • Citizens don't necessarily need a car to live if the city has Transit-Oriented Development with Rent Controls.

Crawford said that because he lives on a fixed income, he cannot afford to rent housing and was forced to purchase one. He pointed out that 26% (61 million) of Americans have a disability so his situation is not unique. In Mississippi, the disability rate is 33.5% or over 1 million people. Disability includes limits on mobility, cognition, living independently, seeing, and the ability to care for themselves. Further, 17.5 % (525,000)of Mississippians have “serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.” The rate in the US is 12.9% (30 million). He encouraged his audience to think of themselves as “temporarily able-bodied.”

Crawford showed an aerial view of his neighborhood and told the club why he bought his home there. He showed his house and the fact that he could get to a grocery store, bank, one bus stop, and two pharmacies in his wheelchair.

Discussing the lack of wheelchair accessible housing, he pointed out that that:

  • It is an obstacle to community integration

  • Due to that lack many people cannot rent because they’d be priced out over time because of their fixed income limitations.

  • People resort to buying existing homes and retrofitting them to make them wheelchair accessible.

  • Retrofitting older homes is often difficult and expensive due to the need for wheelchair ramps, the need to widen doorways, and kitchens in older homes are often small and not wheelchair friendly as are bathrooms.

These were the problems Crawford faced when he purchased his Fondren home. He showed a photo of his Fondren home 


The answer to these accessibility problems is using “Universal Design” to build for access by all people. The benefit is that  it “allows people to Age-in-Place and have a welcoming home for all.”

Crawford showed an example of accessible housing; the Lakeshore Foundation Cottages in Birmingham, AL which are designed to be accessible.

Crawford then switched to transit. He said that community integration depends on transit. His point was that the cities and their citizens need to:

  • End stereotyping of transit users - Transit is not just a “last resort” for the “poor”, disabled, and elderly.”

  • Recognize:

    • that younger professionals seek out transit-friendly communities.

    • Retirees want alternatives to driving

    • Commuters want to avoid stress and enhance their quality of life.

He gave a commute from South Jackson to Tougaloo College as an example of an existing commute that is 16 miles and takes 21 minutes by automobile. By public transit, it takes 3 bus routes and nearly 2 hours if the buses connect.

His next point was that housing needs to be linked to transit with accessible sidewalks where today the City of Jackson has not provided them or required developers to install them forcing people into the streets. The costs of inaccessible streets are:

  • Social isolation: Feeling like one is under “House Arrest.”

  • Increased dependency on others and paratransit.

  • Lack of Productivity (Access to schools,  jobs, etc.

  • Societal segregation by class and ability

  • Pedestrian fatalities

The solution is to build complete streets that are safe for all users. Examples are the Metro Parkway in Jackson, Mission Street in San Francisco, streets in Nashville, TN, and Capitol Street in Jackson. “Complete streets make a community safer for everyone, not just people with disabilities. Cities should create a livable community from the beginning.

Crawford’s suggestion was that Jackson and other cities need to upgrade their transit systems. The best solution is light rail, but it is more expensive. Bus Rapid Transit is an option. Examples of these solutions are Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Arlington, VA’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). New building should be along existing transit corridors as is being done in Nashville, TN.

His policy summary is that creating livable cities involves:

  • Building using Universal Design principles.

  • Connecting existing housing to transit via:

    • Complete Streets

    • Electric BRT vs. Light rail, plus neighborhood circulators

  • Target new housing along transit corridors

  • Ensure some rent-controlled and lower-income units in all developments.

  • It will take cooperation and financial incentives.

Crawford then repeated his advice “Think of yourselves as the “Temporarily Able-bodied.”

He then quoted anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

We thank Crawford for his very thought-provoking and insightful presentation. He is shown below during his presentation.


This week’s Rotary Thought is about 

how Rotary members can help refugees

Posted on 

Cristal Montañéz has been working with Rise Against Hunger to provide meals for Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.

By Quentin Wodon, Rotary Club of Washington Global, USA

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are among the most vulnerable people on earth. The latest UNHCR report released ahead of World Refugee Day in June estimates that 79.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2019. Sadly, the number keeps rising as conflict and economic crises force people out of their home. Syria still has the largest number of refugees globally, but displacement is also affecting millions of people in Venezuela and Central America, generating major economic and civilian challenges for the Latin America region as a whole.

On 23 June, with the help of Rotarians Rich Carson and Lara Bersano among others, the Rotary Club of Washington Global and the Organization of American States (OAS) organized an event to draw attention to the refugee crisis in Latin America. Speakers included Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, Claudia Blum de Barberi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Alexandra Hill, Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Savador, Diego Beltrand, Special Envoy for the International Organization of Migration, and John Hewko, General Secretary of Rotary International. In addition, a panel with representatives from the private sector and civil society featured Ingo Ploger, President of the Business Council of Latin America, and Cristal Montañéz, a Rotarian from Houston who implemented the Hope for Venezuelans Project in Colombia. Watch a recording of the event.

As a Rotarian, I was especially impressed by the work Cristal Montañéz is doing with Venezuelan refugees that have poured into Colombia over the last several years. With support from Rise Against Hunger, she has provided nearly 650,000 meals to refugees. This is just a start: she has recently received additional funding to continue her project.

Her story, as well as many other Rotary members who have led projects providing relief and creating opportunities for refugees globally, is captured in a report our club prepared ahead of the event with the OAS. The report, available on our website, shows in practical ways how Rotary members and other people of action can alleviate the suffering of refugees and invest in their future.

What are the next steps? One of the ideas following the event is to explore the feasibility of creating a Rotary Action Group (RAG) on refugees to help clubs and districts globally implement projects in support of refugees and IDPs. The number of refugees is expected to increase in the next few decades in part due to displacement caused by global warming. So there will be plenty of work to do.

Also, people with many different types of expertise can help refugees, since they need support in virtually all areas of their life, from education and employment to health and access to water and sanitation. We expect that many Rotary members may be both able and interested in providing support.

We have not decided whether to submit a proposal for a RAG to the Rotary International Board of Directors, for their approval. But if you are interested in the idea, please fill out a short survey or send an email to Quentin Wodon at We plan to hold a zoom meeting on 11 July to brainstorm.