Noon luncheon meetings are held on the first two Tuesdays of each month, at Charlie Brown's Steakhouse in Chatham Township. Breakfast meetings are held at 8:00 AM on the last two or three Tuesdays of each month. Breakfast meetings are held at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse in Chatham Township. Guests are always welcomed to attend our Tuesday meetings. COME JOIN US


Joan May, President Elect of Chatham-Madison Kiwanis Organized the Annual Christmas Program Held December 21

Kiwanis President-Elect Joan May was introduced by President Dick Plambeck. Joan introduced Kiwanis volunteer speakers who had prepared special Christmas remembrances and games. She was very happy to see the huge attendance by members and spouses. At the start of the meeting, Bob Stannard led everyone in singing Christmas carols.

Ron Whalin, Nancy Boucher, Joan May, Karen Swartz and Dick Plambeck

Christmas 1776

Karen, an advocate of New Jersey revolutionary war history, asked everyone to think back to the Christmas of 1776. George Washington crossed the Delaware to win the battle of Trenton. Shortly afterward, soldier enlistments were running out and Washington’s small army was about to return to their homes. Washington needed to convey to his troops the urgency of the situation and he asked them to stay. Karen read Washington’s inspiring words. The army responded with loyalty, staying on through the cold winter. (Click here to read the words from Winter Soldiers by Richard Ketchum.) She spoke these words to let all know that we can draw inspiration from our great leaders of the past and that we can all do our part.

Christmas Song Game

Ex-teacher Nancy Boucher distributed to everyone a game sheet (a kind of quiz). The page had a list of hints for Christmas Songs. Nancy read the hints one-by-one and people shouted out the answers. Everyone had a grand time playing this game. (Click here to see a copy of the game with the answers.)

A Christmas Poem

Karen Swartz spoke again and read a poem that Jim Baker had asked her to read. “I have a list of folks I know, all written in a book, and every year at Christmas Time I go and take a look ….” (Click here to read the entire poem). Karen said that Jim Baker wanted her to offer the poem, as a Christmas greeting, to each and every one of you.


Ron Whalin described TubaChristmas events held around the USA. The first one was held December 22, 1974 on the ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center in NYC. Over 500 tuba players (who usually “get no respect”) gather every year on the ice to play a full program of Christmas carols. The movement has grown to over 240 events held around the USA every year. (Click here to visit the TubaChristmas website.)

Ron and his wife Bert drive a couple of hours to Reading, PA every year to enjoy the TubaChristmas held at Gring’s Mill. It is held in the second story of an old stone barn where about 50 tuba, euphonium, and baritone musicians play carols and tell jokes. The fireplace and crowded room make for a cozy, pleasant experience for families. Many Holiday Lights are also displayed outside in the park. Ron showed several short video clips from the December 10 concert. (Click here to see a YouTube video of TubaChristmas in Reading.)

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Joan May was the last story-teller, speaking about the joy of Christmas cookies. She remembered her mother baking Christmas cookies and every day when Joan came home from school, the cookies smelled better and better. Joan said, “The cookies that stood out in my mind and that I loved the best were the sugar cookies that were shaped as Christmas trees, Santa, wreaths, even cartoon characters, etc. We iced them with different colors and then Mom hung them on the tree.”

Joan’s Mom enlisted her at the age of six to help ice the cookies, so her cookie-making talents developed at an early age. From that time on, cookies were an important part of Joan’s Christmas’. There were some years without cookies after her Mom stopped baking. (Joan’s sister and brother were not into cooking).

Joan wanted this tradition to be known by her grandchildren. For the last 14 years she made and hung the cookies on the tree. About halfway through this period she wondered whether anyone else really cared about the cookies.

Then, about five years ago at the funeral of an uncle, Joan’s cousin came up to her and told her that a favorite memory was “being able to pick a cookie from the tree and taking it home.”

With that encouragement, she was renewed and continued baking cookies. As she baked and decorated 10 dozen this year (18 hours of icing), she wondered if she was “getting too old for this.” Then Joan’s young grandson visited her and he looked at the brightly lit tree. Staring at the tree he said, “Grandma, didn’t you make cookies this year?” Joan said she is now encouraged for at least another five years. The good thing is that she is giving her granddaughters cookie cutters for Christmas.

Next, Joan announced that she had brought along a dozen cookies in a box to present to some lucky person in the audience. At the beginning of the Kiwanis Christmas meeting, as members and guests arrived, they were given a tree-shaped memento decorated with a single Christmas ornament. The person who held the tree with the “star ornament” would win the box of delicious sugar cookies. AD Dudderar was that lucky winner.

Announcements: Kiwanis December 21 Breakfast Meeting at Charlie Brown’s in Chatham

The annual Christmas meeting started with everyone singing Christmas carols: Jingle Bells, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Joy to the World. Next, Stu Shippey reported that there are only about 10 items left from the Holiday Nut Sale. This is the end of the sale, which was very successful. Income exceeded budget. He thanked members for their guidance and help.

Dick Plambeck (left) thanked Alan Nekoukar.
Alan Nekoukar, manager of Charlie Brown’s Restaurant in Chatham Twp., was recognized and thanked by President Dick Plambeck for the excellent service and food he and his staff provided at Kiwanis meetings today and over the many years. Alan thanked the club members and acknowledged his Charlie Brown’s workers who did such a great job. 


December 14 Program: Tim Butler, Co-Director of Green Vision, Spoke on the Recycling Program Staffed by Autistic Workers.

Tim Butler described Green Vision, which is the electronics recycling program affiliated with The Allegro School in Morris Knolls. The workers are Autistic developmentally disabled students and adults.

Valerie Olpp introduced Tim Butler who spoke about Green Vision, an electronics recycling organization
Green Vision is now incorporated, has 501(c)3 status and has its own board of directors.  Work continues to be done at the Allegro School but will move to a new building in Morris Plains. Workers take electronic equipment apart and ship it to companies for processing. The new facility will provide higher end training and employment for students and adults.

Arrangements have been made with several major corporations (e.g. Cantor Fitzgerald, ADP, etc. ) to supply discarded computers and other electronics to Green Vision. Green Vision can accept anything with a cord except for Televisions and Computer Monitors.

PC Problems, LLC in Madison serves as a location for collecting electronics discarded by Madison residents. Click here to learn more. The items are then delivered to Green Vision for recycling. Green Vision also handles New Vernon Township. Discussions are also underway with Chatham Township.

Over a period of one year, Green Vision recycled 101,000 pounds of materials. Just this morning, Tim collected 14,000 pounds of electronics. Autistic workers love the program and the staff.

Tim asked Kiwanis to encourage contacts who might have electronics to dispose of to get in touch with him at Green Vision. Click here to go to the Green Vision website.

Announcements: Kiwanis December 14 Meeting at Charlie Brown’s in Chatham

President Dick Plambeck reminded members to let Kiwanis know if their email address, phone number, etc. changes. Stu gave an update on the nuts project. He said sales are going well and his sales goal will be met by the end of the month. Members were urged to buy/sell as many as possible.

Betty Anne Keat said that a CHS Key Club officers’ meeting will be held in Rich Yar’s office at 10:45am on Friday 12/17 (editorial note: this was moved to Thursday). Dick told members that the CHS Key Club asked Kiwanis to submit an ad for the “Gen Rocks” concert program. Members approved purchasing a full page ad.

Joan May announced that sign-up sheets were placed on tables to get a count of the number of members and guests who will attend next week’s annual Christmas meeting, which will be a breakfast at Charlie Brown’s. Dick announced that a board meeting will follow next week’s the breakfast meeting. He also announced that the District Mid-Winter conference will be held Saturday, January 29 at the Somerset Crown Plaza.

Karen Swartz announced that members should start work on finding Tricky Tray items for the “Wines from Around the World” Wine-Tasting event. Detailed Tricky Tray info will be sent to members via email.

Heather Alonge announced that ECLC students will be presenting their Christmas program, “Rhythms of the Season” on Thursday at 12:30 pm.

Kiwanis NJ District Governor Marc Litwack with Nancy Boucher at the December 14, 2010 breakfast meeting held at Charlie Brown’s restaurant.
NJ District Governor Marc Litwack attended the club meeting. This is his first club visit since he suffered a bad fall six months ago in which he was seriously injured. Marc is a member of the Chatham-Madison Kiwanis Club. We admire his determination as he recovers after 9 months at Kessler Rehab and resumes his responsibilities as District Governor. He wished the club continued success enriching the family of man and serving the children of the world.

Colonel Amos Chalif and his wife Margaret attended the meeting. He holds dual club membership and we were happy to see them.

Amos and Margaret Chalif at Charlie Brown's Restaurant in Chatham Twp.

Dot Libman, Director of the ECLC of NJ P.R.I.D.E., Presents Program at December 7 Meeting.

At the December 7 Kiwanis Luncheon, Dot Libman described the newest ECLC of NJ program for helping adults with developmental disabilities. Called P.R.I.D.E., the initials stand for Promoting Responsibility, Independence, Decision-making and Employability.
Left front, Kim Paxton; back (L to R), Heather Alonge, Oni Struthers, Dot Libman and Dick Plambeck.

The state of New Jersey covers needs of special education students up until the age of 21, after which they are no longer eligible. PRIDE extends services beyond graduation from ECLC schools. Some funds are available through self-directed day services and ECLC’s clients have chosen PRIDE to be their agency. Areas of concentration include social skills, community skills, vocational skills and independent living skills (e.g. laundry and food preparation). The goal is to help clients lead the most fulfilling life that they can. Clients have a variety of cognitive and physical disabilities, including Autism, Down syndrome and others. PRIDE is happy to have visitors and volunteers.

Funding is through NJ state for “usage”. Contributions are needed for investments in facilities like buildings, vans, etc. PRIDE started 26 months ago as a day-care center with 18 clients and 2 staff members. It has grown to 61 clients and 14 staff. There are multiple programs: PRIDE 1, PRIDE 2, PEP (PRIDE Evening Program) and PRIDECO (providing career opportunities). For example, PRIDECO just started a packaging center for Tiffany & Co. e-commerce. PRIDECO is also planning a shredding business. The goal is for clients to spend their day at PRIDE in multiple programs, not languishing in their homes. PRIDE clients are transported by Access Link, a service by NJ Transit for people with disabilities.

PRIDE clients can choose their own mix of programs. Clients perform a lot of volunteer work and they feel good about doing it. Dot introduced two clients, Oni Struthers in PRIDE 1 and Kim Paxton in PRIDE 2, to tell Kiwanians about their experiences.

They described their PRIDE daily activities and goals. Today, Oni did a session of Yoga and then went to the bank to cash his PRIDE paycheck (for work done at the Center). Then he went to the Kiwanis meeting. Recently, he has volunteered by making cupcakes for the soldiers in Iraq.

Kim told of skills she is working on, including making choices, communicating, time management and team building. A new skill she is developing at PRIDE is drawing, which she never did at home. She also described therapy dog training, called the “puppy training program.” The puppies are for “Canine Companions” and “Paws for People.”

Oni described the PRIDE book club. In that activity, clients travel to Panera Bread where they buy a drink and read a book. The book club is reading “Just as Long as We’re Together”, a book about friendships. The clients voted to choose this book to read. His favorite thing about PRIDE is being with his friends and all the great staff.

Heather Alonge, who introduced Dot at the beginning of the program, returned to the podium to tell members about ECLC’s funding needs. They have plans for PRIDECO development that come with a large budget. They need a hydraulic table, shrink-wrap machines, aprons, etc. She asked the Kiwanis Club to make a contribution. She also asked club members to make individual contributions using the “Donate” button found on the ECLC website. Just be sure to type into the “note box” that the donation is to go to PRIDECO (or whatever project you want to support). Click here to go to the ECLC home page and then click on the “Donate” button. Then follow the instructions on the screen. Nancy Holt, chair of the Kiwanis Benevolence Committee, said that they will consider increasing the clubs giving to ECLC for the PRIDECO program.

Kiwanis December 7 Meeting Announcements

Stu Shippey gave a report on Nut Sales and asked members to SELL-SELL-SELL. He has plenty of Cashews, the K-nut. Nancy gave an update on the February 24, 2011 Wine Tasting event. She asked team leaders to get info needed for publicity by the first of next year. Karen Swarz asked members to start working on the “tricky tray”. Items may be contributed by members or members can solicit local businesses for contributions. Gift certificates, baskets of foods, sports memorabilia, etc. can be contributed. In a tricky-tray event, donated items are awarded to the holder of the winning ticket, selected in a drawing during the event. To enter, people at the event buy batches of tickets and place them in baskets beside items they want to win. Also, Joan May said that she needs items for the December 21 Christmas Program.
Jim Baker (L) and Joe Marcel (R) at Kiwanis Meeting


John Gardner speaks to Kiwanis about oil and gold at November 30 meeting

John Gardner introduced his November 30 Kiwanis presentation with a sobering description of “Peak Oil”, the point at which oil production plateaus and then declines. The world is running out of oil. 
John Gardner (L) and Dick Plambeck (R)
Conventional oil comes from a drilled well; it is extracted by its own pressure and a pump. Unconventional oil is in place but cannot flow on its own without intervention. Fracturing, enhancement and chemicals are used to extract oil from where it is trapped. There is heavy oil (like tar). Oil sands (in Canada) and shale are formations that have to be fractured at great cost so that the oil will move. For example, in the Bakkon field in and around Montana, it costs about $3,000,000 to drill the well and about $4,000,000 to fracture and get the oil to flow.

Peak Oil is happening now. For the past five years, world production of conventional oil has plateaued at about 72-74 million barrels per day. Consumption is about 85 and the difference comes from unconventional oil and natural gas liquids.

News reports highlight new production but skip over depletion of old oil fields. Most oil comes from mature, declining fields. Large oil fields like Bergen and Kuwait were discovered before WWII. Saudi’s Ghawar field, the world’s largest, came on in the 50’s and 60’s. All fields are declining. Decline exceeds discoveries of new sources. We are consuming 3 barrels of oil from inventory for every barrel we discover. We are facing a decline in conventional oil production.

How can we reverse this? Reduce consumption through conservation. Higher prices and rationing could reduce consumption. Available alternatives for corrective measures will decline as the oil availability declines. There is only so much you can do when the scarcity problem hits. The price of oil and gasoline is going to go up significantly.

There are new discoveries like the Tupi field approximately 200 miles off the shore of Brazil in 7000 feet of saltwater. The oil lies 25,000 feet below the ocean bottom. The field has a potential for up to 40 Billion Barrels. It will take $50 Billion and 10 years to develop the field. At its peak, it will produce only about 1 million barrels per day, a small percent of the need. Market oil prices will have to be above $80 per barrel to make the field economically viable.

Kuwait plans to spend 60 Billion dollars to increase production by .9 million barrels per day, a “drop in the bucket” compared to what is needed.

The major changes in American life style caused by “Peak Oil” are going to be awful. We live in suburban sprawl, have oversized mansions, are hyper-consumers and use our autos wastefully. All this will have to go. There will be downsizing and reduced travel. Anyone who lives in a McMansion more than 15 miles from good public transportation is going to be hurting. SUV’s will be replaced with electric vehicles. However, the battery technology is still not efficient and economical. The lithium battery for the new Chevy Volt cost $12,000 to $14,000 and lasts about 100,000 miles.

Another source of supply is “coal to liquids”, “gas to liquids” and natural gas driven cars. There aren’t enough stations supplying natural gas for cars. There are economic and government policy problems in producing fuel from coal and gas.

75 to 80 percent of oil goes into transportation. Over 20 percent of that figure goes into agriculture and food processing, which cannot be changed. We need to have rules restricting oil to use for transportation. Other fuels must be used for heating and industrial purposes.

Clean (green) energy is increasing in use. Solar-electric generation has problems, for example, keeping the panels clean. Windmills generate noise and people don’t want them near their residences. The wind doesn’t blow all the time and sun doesn’t shine all the time so energy must be stored somehow. A better electrical grid is needed to deliver this energy to users. Right now, renewable energy accounts for less than 2 percent of energy production and will not make a significant difference in the near future.

Technology will help, but it will not solve the problem. For example, fracturing makes a well produce but it does not last as long as conventional oil wells.

Peak Oil is an ongoing question being debated at the highest levels of industry and government. Military in the US and Germany are trying to figure out how to maintain a supply of fuel for weapons during the period of Peak Oil.

We need to understand how Peak Oil will affect the economy going forward. A good book is the “The Impending World Energy Mess” by Robert L. Hirsch an others. In this book he shows that a 1 percent growth in energy supply equals a 2 percent growth in GDP. For example, the 2008 oil price of over $140 per barrel reduced available oil and had a crushing effect on the economy. Cheap and abundant oil in the past has contributed to our prosperity.

The 2008 recession stopped about $100 billion in exploration and development projects that eliminated about 2.5 million barrels per day of future supply, which will not be forthcoming. The US leads the world in consumption at 19 million barrels per day. The US only produces about 6.7 barrels per day. We import the difference, but the US must compete with China and other developing nations for this supply. Chinese policy is to make long range plans and deals with suppliers to ensure an adequate supply. The US does not have an effective policy to ensure adequate supply. John believes that the US competition with China for scarce oil will become nasty in the future.

Click on this link to visit The Oil Drum website and learn more about oil.

Right now we have a fragile economy with problems in housing and unemployment. Housing probably won’t be corrected for 3-5 years. Unemployment will not be solved until the housing problem is solved. Oil prices will rise and the US economy will be in bad shape in the future. The problems are serious.

The government doesn’t seem to know or care to know about the bad economic situation. QE2 serves only to bail out the banks and Wall Street. No effective steps have been taken to stimulate jobs. US citizens have no idea what the government will do about taxes and health care. We will just muddle through but in the meantime, the government is running out of money.

How do you protect your own money? “Things” are where you want to go. Energy and agriculture (including water) are going to have scarcity – also resources like copper, zinc, lead, gold, silver, etc will be scarce. Gold and silver are like a financial insurance policy. We are probably not going to have a nice ten years and should have a plan to deal with this.

In Q&A at the end of the talk, John mentioned a recent New York Times Sunday Supplement on energy. A headline was “You Will Have Fuel”. The article gives false hope. He also said that energy initiatives started during the recent oil price peak will return to favor when oil prices rise again. Also, drilling in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale is going to be slowed down because of potential ground water contamination. Relative to precious metals, he believes that silver is a better investment than gold at this time.

Kiwanis November 30 Meeting Announcements

Kiwanis Club President Dick Plambeck announced that the membership directory correction list is in the final stage of completion. If members have any changes to make, they should send them to Dick now. Ron, speaking for Stu Shippey, announced that some nuts were available for purchase at the meeting. Stu will attend next weeks’s luncheon meeting and will bring a larger amount that members can buy and take with them. He also noted that Cashews are available in tins and the delicious food (technically a seed) is a great source of Vitamin-K (which stands for Kiwanis).

Dick also announced that McLynn’s casual food and drink, Springfield will give 20 % of receipts received on Wednesday 12/1/10 after 4:00 PM to the Jonathan Dayton Key Club’s fundraiser for the Children’s Specialized Hospital. At the Tuesday, December 21 lunch meeting, we will hold our annual Christmas celebration. Joan May is asking members to help with items for the program. Dick also mentioned that Circle-K needs financial help with annual dues – this will be discussed at the December Board Meeting to be held immediately following the December 21 breakfast meeting at Charlie Brown’s.