Julie Fott, executive director of Lake Erie Wine Country, was this year's Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club's Rural-Urban Day guest who described the function and membership of the organization.
A North East, PA native, Julie was introduced by Rotarian Patty DiPalma, who noted that Julie graduated from Purdue University with a BA in communications with concentrations in public relations and telecommunications.
Of the 24 winery members of the organization along Lake Erie, 13 are in New York and 11 over the Pennsylvania border. And, although individual laws prevent "crossing the border," the Lake Erie Wine Country group promotes all, according to Ms. Fott.
Above: Julie Fott, executive director of Lake Erie Wine Country, right, introduced by Rotarian Patty DiPalma, left, described the organization during Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club’s annual Rural-Urban Day.
In addition, there are 63 "tourism partners" supporting the wineries, the majority being dining, lodging and related businesses. All attract visitors for many reasons, Ms. Fott said. "Visitors like to visit wineries. Wines get lots of awards. People want to write about us, which increases sales. The younger visitors ages 21 to 31 are a large market because they like to spend their money and like wine."
Ms. Fott said that upcoming events include a new website, more tourism signs throughout the area and signs that point the way to finding wine trails.
For more information, contact their website at www.lakeeriewinecountry.org or telephone 1-877-326-6561.
A bit of history was given by Rolland Kidder of Jamestown with his second recently published, "Backtracking in Brown Water." Retracing life on Mekong Delta River Patrols, an historical non-fiction work, finds Kidder journeying back to the rivers and canals of South Vietnam. It recounts life aboard Patrol Boats in the heart of the Mekong Delta and interviews with the families of three friends lost in the fighting back in 1969.
From 1994 to 2001, Kidder served as a Presidential-appointed Commissioner of the American Battle Monuments (ABMC) and was a member of its World War II Memorial Committee, which was responsible for finding site and selecting a design for the National World War II Memorial. Again appointed to serve on the AMC by President Obama in 2010, he also is a director of Friends of the National World War II Memorial, a Washington-based non-profit organization.
A Navy Vietnam War veteran, "Rolly," as he is called by friends, also authored A Hometown Went to war, an oral history of 37 veterans describing their experiences during World War II.
Rolly served as a New York State Assemblyman from 1975-1982, operated his own Appalachian-based natural gas drilling company from 1984-1994 and worked in an investment advisory firm for 10 years. Most recently, he was the executive director of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown.
"Backtracking in Brown Water" is now available in hardcover, paperback and eBook editions.
Jefferson Westwood, SUNY Fredonia's director of the Michael C. Rockefeller Art Center, brought the audience up to date regarding expansion of the center. "We're in the final phase of the $38 million building addition with dance studios on the second floor and costumes on the bottom floor."
The Center's Entertainment Guide lists the programs for 2014, the last being one of the best, "Gershwin's Greatest Hits." Scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 16, eight of SUNY Fredonia's most talented student singers and dancers will share the state with the Little Apple Big Band. The show includes "Embraceable You," "Nice Work if You Can Get It" and a special arrangement of "Rhapsody in Blue" with band leader Bruce Johnstone on baritone sax. There also will be more of Gershwin tunes.
A man with a sense of humor, Westwood told a story about why he is called Jefferson. "I was Jeff in high school. When I went to college, the professor asked me for my 'real' name. From then on it was Jefferson."
Perhaps this is one thing others might like to abide by with their "real" names; not nicknames.
For tickets and more information about the center, call 673-3501.