“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck
“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” – Gary Zukav
(notes provided by the distinguished gentleman from Connecticut, Edwardini Perry)
Cary noted that next week’s meeting (December 27th) will be our last at Hawthorne Suites. On January 3, 2019, we will meet at our new location, Lodgic Everyday Community. We will meet in their restaurant area. Meeting times are the same with the doors unlocked at 6:30am. 
Billy announced that costs for the breakfast will be $10 at our new location. This pays for the food and room set up. Billy distributed information for the additional costs for those who have signed up for quarterly, semi-annual or annual food plans.
Cary and Billy also noted that our annual membership dues will be increasing next year to get in line with Rotary International and our actual expenses/costs. They handed out a Member Dues Analysis showing the July 2018 through June 2019 income and expenses. Both regular and senior member dues will be increased.  
Robb noted that the fruit sale was successful with approximately 400 cases sold. Everyone needs to get their money in to Billy by January 10th. 
Darrell noted that he, Scott and Paul have put together and issued our updated Club’s rack/information card showing our new club location. These can be picked up at club meetings.
Bob announced that Saturday, January 19th is the date for our club’s next community project. We will be helping with a Habitat for Humanity home build project. The work will be indoor work.
Mary introduced Maarten de Witte as our speaker. Maarten is an Gemologist specializing in diamonds and diamond cutting. He grew up in Urbana and as a young man traveled in Europe. During these travels he saw the Crown Jewels in London and realized he wanted to be part of the diamond business.
Maarten entered a diamond cutting school in Nevada and has spent the last 40+ years in California as a diamond worker. He and his wife recently moved back to Urbana. His topics this morning touched on the brief history of diamonds, diamond cutting, marketing of diamonds and the current synthetic diamond. 
From the 13th to the 19th century diamonds were only affordable by royalty. As additional diamonds were found in the world and advancements in cutting methods took place the diamond’s unique visual properties began to be fully appreciated. In the 20th century, mass production of diamonds began to fill the growing market. Improved cutting methods and technology made diamonds more affordable by reducing the size of the stone and enhancing their brilliance.
Maarten explained the different shapes and cuts for diamonds and their effect on how light passes through the stone for its brilliance. Rose Cuts, Round Brilliant, Star Brilliant and Bullseye Cuts were several cuts explained by Maarten. While learning the cutting trade, he also learned about the marketing and branding used in the diamond business. He noted how diamonds have a strong emotional attachment to buyers. Natural diamonds “last forever” and retain their value.
Maarten’s interests continue to grow, and he also commented on laboratory-made diamonds. Originally used in industry for cutting tools, they are also being successfully produced for jewelry and are at prices available to everyone. 


  Dec 27th Jan 3rd Jan 10th Jan 17th
Introductions Robb Patton Allan Penwell Ed Perry Rod Roberts
Reflection John McDaniel Phyllis Mischo Scott Paceley Robb Patton
Greeters Robb Patton Allan Penwell Ed Perry Rod Roberts
Oktay Baran Keith Brandau Ethan Chew Paul Conforti
Song Leader Mary Kay Smithy Adam Wright Oktay Baran Michelle Barbey
Notetaker Penwell Hodson Conforti Perry


UPCOMING SCHEDULE (with program committee member responsible listed in parentheses)
December 27th – Tom Hodson, District Scholarship Chair, will talk about our Rotary Global Scholars (Mary)
January 3rd -Jori Orsini, the Executive Director of Lodgic, will talk about the Lodgic Every Day Community, our new meeting place (Charlie)
January 10th – Kim Gollings from Habitat for Humanity (Bob)
January 17th – PDG Larry Howell will discuss the Heart to Heart Zone trip to Mexico (Mary)
January 24th – Viktor Gruev, Associate Professor, UI Electrical and Computer Engineering, will speak about his research applications [self-driving cars, cancer detection, ocean exploration]  of a bio-inspired camera (Phyllis)
January 31st – William D O’Brien, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UIUC, will tell us about his current research in ultrasonic bioengineering (Mary)
February 7th – Tiffani Henry will discuss Rotary Youth Exchange (David)