The Rotary Club of
Centerville, OH
Chartered 1972
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eBulletin - November 19, 2020
Centerville Rotary Meeting Highlights

President Frank welcomed everyone on Zoom to the meeting. We have gone back to virtual meetings because of the climbing numbers of COVID cases in the County.

Frank shared these updates:

  • Meeting schedule through the end of the year. December 3rd and 10th will be regular zoom meetings. December 17th we will do a 5:30 Christmas cocktail party. We are hoping to make it a virtual wine tasting. Stay tuned for more details. After an end of year break, we will pick up zoom meetings on January 7th. The Board will meet on Jan. 11th to assess the COVID situation and a start date for in person meetings.
  • Rotarian of the Year - used to be given at Christmas, but due to COVID, we will award in June as we transition to the new Leadership of the club.
  • Rotary Leadership Institute Part I will be broken into three meetings held virtually starting Tuesday Dec. 1st and run on consecutive Tuesdays. There is a one-time fee of $20 for the material (Club will reimburse you.) Parts II and III will be after the first of the year. Great way to learn more about Rotary and develop leadership skills.
  • Donations are now being accepted for The Rotary Foundation. Any amount is welcome, and the club will match your donation “dollar for dollar” up to $500. Any amount of annual donation is great. You can mail your check to our P.O. Box and please make the check out to “The Rotary Foundation” not the Club.
Chuck King introduced the proposed slate of Board members for 2021-2022. Open spots - International Service Director, eBulletin Editor, Social media position assistance, Pat Beckel agreed to be Sgt of Arms, would like a second to share duties. Will vote on slate first week in December.
Our Happy Dollars for this quarter are going to the Kaplani School – please be generous with your Happy Dollars for this good cause. You can send your check to the club mailbox:  Centerville Rotary Club, PO Box 41431, Centerville, OH 45458


Brian Hayes served as Sergeant of Arms today. Rotarians were very generous this week:

  • Carol Kennard - $5 for how delicious Elda’s cake was, $5 sad to not be visiting her daughter’s family in PA for Thanksgiving because of COVID, and $5 in memory of George Sontag, former Transportation Director for Centerville Schools who had a beautiful funeral procession led by school buses today. 
  • Elda Gotos-Gay - $20 for a call from her granddaughter, who was excited to receive her Rotary dictionary.
  • Arnie Biondo - $10 fo Elda’s delicious cake and for seeing Kisha Taylor at the meeting again.
  • Sivaji Subramaniam - $5 for raking leaves today and for a great zoom meeting of the Diversity Council Leadership Team this week.
  • Joyce Young - $5 thanks to those who have already donated to the Rotary Foundation and there’s still time for others to donate. 
  • Mike Wier - happy to see the sunshine and to say his check to the Rotary Foundation is in the mail.
  • Wayne Davis - $20 for Obi Toppin, the highest rated UD basketball player to be chosen in the NBA draft and for the outstanding speaker we have today (his wife!)
  • Dick Hoback - $5 for getting to be with half of his grandkids at Thanksgiving.
  • Chuck King - $20 for discovering his snow blower doesn’t work in time to get it fixed before he’ll first need it this year. 
  • Harvey Smith - $50 in memory of his good friend, Robin Parker.
  • Sofie Ameloot - $5 for the wonderful people who adopted a child this year and reminder that gift cards must be turned in by November 23. 
  • Jim Harris - $5 for the nice weather and $5 for his oldest granddaughter coming to visit for Thanksgiving.
  • Brad Huffman - $20 happy to see Kisha and pleased the Golf Committee is coming together nicely - still have a few volunteer positions to fill.
  • Frank Perez - $5 for another Cleveland Browns sin.


Our speaker today was the Honorable Kate Huffman, Common Pleas Court Judge.

Wayne Davis introduced our speaker today, The Honorable Kate Huffman who he said is the smartest person in their household. Wayne said she has many accolades, but the top two include surviving her childhood growing up with brothers, and being a grandmother to five grandchildren. 

Kate mentioned there were 7 judicial races in last election and often people don’t know much about those individuals when they vote. She then shared good information about the courts.

Any action starts at the lower courts (trial courts). You always have the right to appeal any final decision. US Supreme Court only hears

Cases of constitutional significance. They choose which the will hear.

Ohio Courts - start at the trial court that has jurisdiction over the type of case. 12 Courts of Appeals in the state of Ohio. OH Supreme Court also selects what cases they take but they must take any death penalty case. Judges are elected to 6 yr terms and are staggered so there are a couple on the ballot every year. 


Types of courts include:

Cases are assigned randomly per Ohio law to ensure random and due process.

Public impression of judges is often based on the Jerry Springer- type image of the TV judge. That is NOT real law, not the type of behavior acceptable in courts. Judges are REQUIRED to always be fair and impartial, not bring their own agenda, political views but to hear the evidence, decide credibility and decide how law applies. 

Kate noted any time you try a case, someone wins and someone loses. So the judge’s role is not to fashion something they can live with, but decide if it follow the law.

But judges don’t sit in the court all day. Most of her time is spent conducting hearings and also has lots of admin duties. Kate says she spends a lot of time writing decisions as many cases are not jury cases, but have settlements. She has assistance by a staff attorney who helps her write decisions.

Many people feel sentencing is not done right, however there are specific rules that must be followed. Pre-sentence investigation gives information on the person, criminal history, family info, etc. as the sentencing must be personalized. Judge has a range of prison terms or can/must assign to probation/community service. Sentencing is designed to never have them return to court but it doesn’t always work that way. It is not uncommon to see same person back again.

Kate then shared some courtroom antics, usually around people not knowing how to behave properly in the courtroom. Individuals have shown up in PJs, no shoes, or wearing inappropriate clothing. One time a Juror fell asleep so she coughed loud, and banged a book to wake them up. Defendants have jumped over tables, and called her every name in the book. They have Deputies in the courtroom at all times for safety of all involved and to maintain the decorum of the courtroom. 

Courts are typically open to the public (limited by COVID now.) 

When asked how we could become more informed when voting for judges, Kate suggested checking out the League of Women Voters website as they survey everyone each election.

Kate was asked what the transition like going from attorney to judge? She noted she first took bench by appointment to fill vacant term. The main change is going from being an advocate - taking someone’s side to no longer taking a side, have to be the neutral person in the room. Judges are required to have lots of education - twice as many CEUs as a lawyer. She said the hardest transition is the preconceived notion about judges - it’s hard to tell if people are sincere or if they’re just trying to get something from you. She said she is still the same person!

Arnie Biondo was a juror in her court and he noted Kate was like a teacher, explained what jurors had to do throughout the process. Kate said jurors come in scared so she tries to eliminate the fears; if they not afraid, she feels they will be absolutely fair to all involved.

President Frank thanked Kate for the great information and wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We'll be back on Zoom in two weeks!
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) directives, our Rotary club has gone back to Zoom meetings only. Please join us!
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Service Above Self
Thursdays at 12:00 PM
Golf Club at Yankee Trace
10000 Yankee Street
Centerville, OH 45458
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Carol Kennard
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