Matt Johnston entertains the crowd at Clearwater Rotary’s Christmas Light-up on Dec. 1 before Santa arrives, while Marj Sunderman stays warm. Photo by Kay Knox

Local Rotary Club busy at work

Rotary hosts Christmas Tree Light-up, donates stationary bikes to students


Clearwater Rotary Club has been busy at work, recently hosting its annual Christmas Tree Light-up as well as donating time and money to help local students.

The Christmas Tree Light-up was another success, offering attendees live music, hot food and photos with Santa and Mrs Clause.

The club also recently donated a pair of stationary bicycles to Raft River School to help students let off steam while in class — below is a piece that was written by Rotary Club members on the initiative:

READ MORE: Update from Clearwater Rotary Club

As a result of Jean Nelson’s suggestion to provide stationary bikes for restless students to use, two unusual bicycles have now been assembled at Raft River Elementary School. One is smaller than the other. These will be placed at the back of a classroom and students can opt to take up to 15 minutes away from their desks to pedal, while still remaining in sight and sound of all activities.

The following story (only slightly edited) was circulated to all Clearwater Rotary members:

“Tim (Panko) and I (Douglas Barill) had some fun last week. One of the (about to be mentioned) kids asked me why we were building bikes in his school. My reply was this: ‘It is going to help guys like you concentrate on your math, science and reading’.

“His quick reply was, ‘Can I read my comic book on this?’ I couldn’t conceal my grin, so I said: ‘You can write and draw a comic book while you are on this.’ So, in honour of my new 5-year-old friend, I’ll tell the events of today through the lens of soon-to-be-authored comic book narrative:

“Grumpy Tim and Gangly Douglas unboxed some bikes. Like at Christmas. They followed the instructions correctly. They didn’t have one screw or bolt left over when they were finished. They didn’t even have to take it apart and put together again. Not even once.

“That Donny kid came up and asked what we were doing. He asked if he could try the bike — then, well, a whole kindergarten class tried the bike at the same time in the hallway. Everyone was giggling when Donny rode it backwards. We had to take turns because gangly Douglas said we should not be “disruptive,” but he couldn’t stop smiling when he told us. So we knew that he didn’t mind. He says if we ride it every day we’ll get better at math, science and making comic books.

“Grumpy Tim thought he was going to get sent to the principal’s office for all the noise, so he tried to escape on the big bike. He pedalled and pedalled, but it didn’t get him anywhere. We giggled until our stomachs hurt.

“Our teacher came out and said that we should go outside for recess. We looked back at Grumpy Tim and Gangly Douglas, who had to stay and clean up.

“When we got back from recess, they were gone. But the Bikes were there.

“Those big kids must be in detention because the principal said Grumpy has to put stickers on the bike later. They didn’t tattle on us, because I was able to ride the small bike again.

“I hope those guys are ok. I wonder what grade they are in. I’ll ask them if they want to be in my comic book. After my bike ride that is.”

Douglas ended his email this way: “Jean. You are a Rotary legend! Thank you for bringing this to the table at the Club. I am thrilled that I made the time to assemble these two bikes today.”

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Ursula Johnston stands by while her daughter, Annie, gets a photo with Santa and Mrs. Clause at Clearwater Rotary’s Christmas Light-up on Dec. 1. Photo submitted

Clearwater firefighters Guy Holland, Pip Sutterby and Evan Capostinsky get a photo with the Clauses at Clearwater Rotary’s Christmas Light-up on Dec. 1. Photo submitted

Raft River Elementary School student Donny makes his schoolmates laugh as he rides backward on one of the new bikes donated to the school by the Clearwater Rotary Club. The stationary bikes are to be used by restless students so they can let off some steam at school if needed. Photos submitted

Clearwater Rotary Club member, Grumpy Tim Panko, tests one of the stationary bikes the club recently donated to Raft River Elementary School.

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