President Bill opened the meeting with 17 members present and a welcome change in the weekly menu (soup, wraps, and pasta salad).

Ron offered a happy $4.80 (rounded up to $5) for the 48 years of wedded bliss being celebrated by he and Maryanne.   Claire then offered two happy $ for the nice card she received from some out-of-state visitors who attended the breakfast, lavishing praise on the city as a whole, its friendliness, the Heritage festival, and the great time had at the breakfast.   Her second happy $ was for the recent planning session held by the Barre Partnership which is looking plot the future of Barre.   She said it’s an exciting, positive time for the city.

Karl proposed a fine on everyone in the room who had not yet proposed a fine, which one member said was “the most ridiculous fine ever”.   Those veteran members of the club who were present knew that wasn’t the case…there have been many more ridiculous fines proposed in the past, and Karl’s fine was defeated.   That brought Roy to his feet to offer a happy $ for the change in menu, thanking Karl for his preliminary discussions with the staff of The Quarry aimed at spicing up our weekly lunches.

Secretary Sue noted August birthdays (Lucille Aja, Adam Martin, Bob Pope) and anniversaries (Fr. Dan, soon transferring to Rutland, Shane Mispel, and Ron (43 years).

President Bill offered a happy $ for the family wedding he attended in Stowe this weekend at which he and Diane hosted 65 members of the Benoit family for Friday night dinner.   He noted that his mother-in-law has seven children, 21 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren, and all but 2 of the great-grandchildren were in attendance.

Tom Babic proposed a fine of 1+9 on Karl for his failed attempt at fining the rest of the club, and Roy for not providing information on Lucille’s birthday to Sue prior to the meeting.   It was suggested that we could raise more money for the club by letting each member in attendance fine Karl individually (which would then also allow us to meet Karl’s earlier stated goal of everyone in the club proposing a fine) but it was decided we didn’t have enough time for that.   The fines on Roy and Karl both easily passed.

A reminder went out that there will be no lunch meeting next week as we will gather at Karl’s at 5:15 for a cookout.  If you haven’t done so yet please RSVP to Jim Catone ASAP as we need numbers for the Hilltop by Friday.   Steak, potato, etc. for $20 per person…BYOB.   Anyone planning to bring an appetizer let Jim know.

Karl introduced this week’s speaker Peter Jacobsen, director of Vermont CARES.    CARES is the largest HIV/AIDS education and awareness program in the state, and is funded primarily by state and federal money.   It also raises between $200,000-$250,000 annually on its own as well.   CARES talks about the stigma surrounding HIV, mis-perceptions and how to keep people safe.

Peter said VT CARES serves about 170 people each year, primarily low-income Vermonters.  He said there are about 800 people in Vermont with HIV, and about 20% of them don’t know they have the virus.   Peter said his organization deals with people who have lost their jobs because of having HIV (illegal) or have been evicted from their housing as a result (also illegal).   He noted that HIV is a very “weak” virus and it doesn’t live long outside the body, but it attacks the immune system of those who have the virus and since there is no cure at this time, it will usually end in eventual death.

Peter said that more cases of HIV infection come from injecting drugs rather than through sexual contact, which is a turn-around from the early days of the awareness of HIV.   He also said there are roughly 20 new cases of the virus reported each year.   The big break through on treatment has been the dozens of medications now in existence, that weren’t available 20 or 30 years ago, and which can help people with HIV lead relatively healthy lives.

He said the medications used to treat the virus can cost up to $40,000 a year, but Vermont has done well in addressing the cost of the medications and most of the people VT CARES works with pay only about $3 a month for medications.   He also said Vermont has one of the lowest rates of HIV/AIDS in the country.  

Peter pulled the winning raffle ticket, and after receiving instruction from Karl that the number he needed to call out was 892, Peter pulled ticket # 892!   Karl graciously donated his winnings back to the club (likely to avoid receiving a 1099 form at the end of the year!) and he also pulled a blue marble from the bag.

Don’t forget next week’s cookout at Karl’s house at 5:15, with dinner served at 6:00.