December 4, 2013 Newsletter

By John Hammer

Charlotte Shelburne Rotary

Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 7:15 a.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church Community Room


President Dave Jonah opened the meeting with the Pledge. Kris Engstrom gave the invocation.

Guests: Speaker – Paula Routly, Publisher and Editor, Seven Days Newspaper and Da Capo Publishing.

Cory Grenier – Marketing and Events Manager for Seven Days.

Mark Lund, Sales Rep for Windridge Publishing – Charlotte

Quote of the Day:  “… every Wednesday we prove that newspaper journalism is not dead, at least in Vermont.” Adapted from a sentence presented by Paula Routly in her presentation.



December 11 – Committee Meetings

December 12 – Board Meeting

December 18 – Christmas party

December 25 – Christmas Day, No Meeting

January 1 – New Year’s Day, No Meeting

April 25-27 – 7850 District Conference, Hilton Hotel, Burlington

District 7850 Calendar: Hot Link


Thank You Letters

The club received a thank you letter from Burlington Meals on Wheels.

Looking for Speakers

Fritz Horton asked members to help him identify future speakers. Please contact him by Email at or phone at 985-8387.

Thanksgiving Turkeys

George Schiavonne reported that his committee, in the spirit of Jim Spadaccini, delivered 128 Thanksgiving turkeys to the food shelves of Charlotte, Hinesburg and Shelburne. Many thanks to members of his committee: Linda Schiavonne, Linda Gilbert, Tod Whitaker and President Dave. He singled out Steve Clayton for his flexibility and cooperation, Val Martel – Head of the Shelburne Food Shelf for her help and Roz Graham for her wonderful PR work.

Rotary Foundation

Pat Sokolowski and Sam Feitelberg distributed their publication Polio Plus Gazette that covers the new spread of polio in Syria. They reminded members of the Polio Plus matching grant with a deadline of Christmas. A donation of $60 for Polio Plus that will be matched by the club, which will further be double-matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Every donation will enable the donor to have their name entered into a custom hat drawing. The hat, now being called a “Foundation Garment,” will be knitted by the very own hands of Pat Sokolowski. You can also go online to

Spad’s Humor – A guy went to the supermarket and noticed a very attractive woman waving at him. She says, “hello.”  He was very much taken aback because he didn’t recognize her. So he asked, “Do you know me?” She looked at him and replied, “I think you’re the father of one of my children.” He thinks for a moment and his mind travelled back to the only time that he had been unfaithful to his wife, so he asked, “Are you the stripper from the bachelor party that I made love to on the pool table with all my buddies watching while your partner whipped my butt with a celery stick?” The woman calmly looked at him in the eyes and said, “No, I’m your son’s teacher.”

It was obvious that many did not get the joke for there was a deathly silence. Then a few began saying “I don’t get it.” Finally Ric explained that the teacher should have said, “I think you’re the father of one of my kids.”  That seemed to assuage some of the questions as there were a few embarrassed giggles.  Ah well, you can’t win ‘em all.

Sergeant at Arms – Richard Fox was recovering from his Thanksgiving meal and sought to fine those who had had the audacity* to serve jellied cranberry sauce at their  Thanksgiving table.”

Bill Deming – Birthday fine.

Michael Clapp – For Bill’s birthday.

Terry Kennaugh – Birthday fine.

Howard Seaver – He served lumpy cranberry sauce.

Chris Davis – Spent a happy Thanksgiving weekend in NYC.

Tod Whitaker – Enjoyed a family reunion for Thanksgiving.

Bill Root – Spent Thanksgiving with his daughter and son in law. The problem was that his son in law is an architect who has been renovating a house and had delayed installing a kitchen for a year. So Bill spent several hours around 1 in the morning the night before installing ovens, a microwaves and a refrigerator in preparation for 24 guests who were arriving that Thanksgiving Day. There was no cook top or sink, however.

Roz Graham – For the start of installing water to the Shelburne Dog Park this morning.

Dennis Webster – Great company at home for Thanksgiving.

Mark Joczik – Happy to spend three days at home for Thanksgiving. He didn’t have to shave for three days. 

Kris Engstrom – Paid fine in “defense” of jellied cranberry sauce, which is a tradition in her family. She reported that she and her family had spent a wonderful Thanksgiving Day playing cutthroat Parcheesi.

Linda Barker – Celebrating the fact that daughter in law Sarah’s father has just been elected mayor of Sonoma, CA.

Linda Gilbert – Had her usual Thanksgiving meal and served cranberry sorbet.

Steve Dates – Celebrated the publishing of the Polio Plus Gazette. Great job Pat and Sam.

Terrill Titus – Great Thanksgiving with her two granddaughters and the five pies that she and Steve made. She also paid a fine in honor of Pat Sokolowski and her efforts in behalf of the Rotary Foundation. And in support of the two birthdays.

Ric Flood- For Bill Deming’s birthday.

Pat Sokolowski had the winning ticket but didn’t know she had it. After several minutes of rummaging around for it in her purse, she found it. She drew the Queen of Clubs.  Roll over the pot of $265.

ImageSpeaker Paula Routly, Publisher and Editor of Seven Days Newspaper and numerous other Burlington Area news publications.

President Dave with Paula Routly (left) and Cory Grenier (right)

Told the story of Seven Days. She said that “every Wednesday she and her company prove that newspaper journalism s not dead, at least in Vermont.”

Seven Days is 120 pages, fat with ads including legal and help wanted. They have a dozen drivers who distribute the newspaper to an area as far away as Plattsburg, NY, to White River Junction, St. Johnsbury and Rutland. The company has been around for eighteen years and has added a variety of publications to its list of products. Seven Nights, BTV (Quarterly in English and French), VT Kids, and a Student Guide are only some of them and they were distributed to the Club. In March 2013 Seven Days was recognized by an industry publication for being one of the only newspapers doing it right.  They have online products including using tweets for job ads that are being run in the paper. The online version of Seven Nights predates Yelp for giving information on local eateries and places of interest. They run events such as home-buying guidance meetings.

Early this year the National Parenting Media Association gave the paper 6 awards including ‘best over all writing and best overall design’ for its VT Kids newspaper.  They have seven weekly Internet newsletters focused on arts news and the Daily 7 news articles. They have two Internet sites for mobile users: The Seven Days paper and B’rlap).

Paula gave six different rules for success:

1.     Hard work pays off. Criticism is a form of love.

2.     Never threaten your competitor – ads pay for everything.

3.     If you don’t sell, don’t bother. Publishing is a balancing act – 50/50 selling and writing. Readers don’t pay the freight, advertisers do.

4.     Compromise quality and you fall – Circulation rules – the number of copies consumed show you how well you’re doing. Right now the demand for Seven Days exceeds the supply, which is good. They now print 36,000 copies a week.

5.     Find the sweet spot and expand slowly.

6.     Pick a name that looks bigger and scarier – Seven Days’ corporate name is Da Capo Publishing, Inc.

Seven Days continues to be successful with 16 pages of Help Wanted ads in the last issue. The loss of ‘Help Wanted’ ads to the Internet has been a major reason for newspaper failures and Seven Days continues to maintain its position as well as publishing its digital version.  They continue to innovate. One way is to run Tech Jams for technical folks that led up to the development of an online tech newsletter.

Routly denied the fact that youth doesn’t like hard work. Her staff proves that is not the case. Seven Days is growing and fun.

* Word of the Day:  Audacity, n. - the willingness to take bold risks.