Rotary Club of Needham
Tuesday:  September 9, 2014
Location:  Needham Sheraton


Our guest speaker this week was Bob Steele from Ledyard, Connecticut.  Bob is Chairman of Connecticut-based NLC Insurance Company and has been a director of numerous other companies, including the American Stock Exchange.  A graduate of Amherst College and Columbia University, he served in the CIA and Congress, and was a nominee for Governor of Connecticut.

Certainly a well-informed and accomplished person, Bob has been very disappointed how casinos have worked out in Connecticut.  Despite their great promise of "economic improvement" and an abundance of good jobs, Bob found just the opposite in his state.  He found that the jobs which were created were primarily low paying jobs, and instead of economic development, he found moral destruction.  Connecticut has since been labeled the "Embezzlement Capital of the United States" with the Ledyard Tax Collector being indicted for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay her gambling debts.  Studies have found that almost half of his state's gamblers are ‘addicted’ to gambling.  Increases in the number of people addicted to gambling is hardly a good thing.

What started as the 1988 Indian Gaming Act in Congress has resulted in 1,000 casinos in the U.S., in 39 states, with Massachusetts and Kentucky scheduled to be next.  Half of the casinos are Indian-owned; the other half are commercial ventures.

Bob got so concerned about the deterioration of his region from the byproducts of big-time gambling that he wrote a novel entitled The Curse: Big-Time Gambling’s Seduction of a Small New England Town. He believed that telling the story of gambling's many ills was better shown as a good story rather than a dry documentary or non-fiction work.  Bob gave a clear and very compelling presentation and sold a number of copies of his book at our lunch meeting.


With "Referendum Question 3" on Massachusetts ballots on November 4, 2014, the time may be right to vote against this concept for Massachusetts.  What do you think?

You can see more of Bob Steele on youtube at:           


Meeting Minutes:

Pledge of Allegiance:  President Glen Davis
Song:  God Bless America; Sung on key by Bob Cocks
Prayer: Thoughtfully led by Darrell Minnich

Susana Brown of Boston Rotary (and Jim’s brilliant and beautiful wife); Plus our guest speaker, Bob Steele


  • Louise reminded us of the VNA 20th anniversary of the Stanley Tippett Hospice House.  She also displayed the beautiful necklace donated by Susan Warnick for the silent auction.  The event will be held at the Needham Golf Club on Sept. 26th at 5:30, with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.  Entertainment will be provided by the Longwood Opera.  Wow!  That sounds like a really high class evening!
  • The 422 dictionaries for Needham’s 3rd graders have arrived. At 11 am on Tuesday the 16th, there will be a "labeling bonanza" at our Rotary meeting.  All of the dictionaries get special labels for each child, and get separated into boxes for each class in each school.  Come early, it is terrific fun!.  Here's a picture from the joy of last year's dictionary delivery:
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  • After 3 years of effort, Needham Rotarian Bill Paulson and the town committee have succeeded in getting a dog park built. The "Grand Dropping" was this past Friday 12th.

Happy Dollars: Ken and others for great weather!  Chuck for having lunch with such excellent company as us (watch out; he may want to borrow money next week!)  Lois and others for being able to vote in the Commonwealth’s Primary election on this day!  Bill Paulson for the opening of the Dog Park, and for his good meeting with the folks at the Newman School who offered to loan us games for the Pancake Breakfast!  Ron Sockol just glad to be here!  Doug George for being able to present the Eagle Scout Award from Needham Rotary this week to Needham’s most recent Eagle Scout, Brenden Albertson of St. Sebastian’s school!  Andy for his youngest daughter going off to pre-school today!  Bob Cocks for two weeks in Hilton Head!  Roz for vacation!  Roberta for HTBH!!

Lois’s Presidential Minute Quiz: This President was the 27th President of our country; he was the only President born in September; he served only one term; he was the only President to then become the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; President William Howard Taft, President from 1909 to 1913.  (He was also the only President whose weight once collapsed the speaker's platform)!   

50/50 drawing:  The great Needham card scandal was finally overcome by the purchase of a card deck that actually had the queen of hearts included!  Thanks to Greg for restoring the integrity of the weekly drawing and demonstrating the first of the four Rotary tests;  "Is it the truth?"  Unfortunately, Marty had lucky number 441, but he drew the Jack of Spades. 

5 minute Rotarian: no one today

Paraprosdokians (Winston Churchill loved them) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and is frequently humorous:

 1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

  2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you ... but it's still on my  list.

 3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

 4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.  

  5. We never really grow up -- we only learn how to act in public.

  6. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.

 7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

 8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.  To steal from many is research.

 9. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

 10. In filling out an application, where it says, "In case of emergency notify ... " I answered "a doctor."

Birthday: No one today