Posted by Nick Aroutzidis on Feb 09, 2019
February 14 2019: Wendy Wilkinson, “Classification”, Rob Ritz will introduce, and Heidi Culliton will give thanks. 

Head Table:  Our President Paul Roulston, invites, Rob Ritz, Chris Thomson, Gerry Thuss, Dan Vito, Alan Wakelin, Sue Wakelin and Anne Walsh, to join him at the head table.

Today at Rotary:  Jim Young introduced Wightman Telecom’s Marketing Manager, Hope Reidt, and CFO, Bart Cameron, who outlined Wightman’s plans for providing telecommunication services in Stratford.
Speakers today were Hope Reidt, Marketing Manager and Bart Cameron. CFO of Wightman Telecom discussing their fibro optic roll out in Stratford.
Wightman is a family owned company that started in 1908 when farmer Robert Wightman created a telephone network in Howick Township. Today’s head office is located in nearby Clifford. Now in the 4th generation of the family it has expanded and matured to provide highspeed internet to rural communities. Stratford is the tenth and largest community to be serviced. Wightman delivers modern fiber optics to the home for internet, home phone and digital television. Mobile phone service is also available. The Stratford and District Chamber of Commerce recognized their innovation and community commitment with a 2018 Business Excellence Award.
Mr. Cameron explained that the laying of cable in Stratford is progressing in three phases. The North section (bounded by Huron Street and the River) was completed in 2018 and is already providing “Fiber to the Home” for many customers in that area. The South East section (from Erie St east) should be complete in 2019, and the remaining South West section in 2020. Their construction partner Avertex uses direction drilling to lay cable with minimal intrusion and property damage. Each customer has a dedicated glass microfiber line, carried inside larger colour coded conduits on each street. The lines are extremely flexible and damage resistant. Older technology currently used by competitors is not 100% fiber (large trunks are copper) and fiberoptic lines may be shared among customers, reducing speed.  In Stratford Wightman is partnered with Rhyzome Networks (Festival Hydro) which provides some of the fire backbone.  The Stratford project is a multi-million-dollar investment with payback to the City for distribution.
Ms. Reidt briefly outlined the services provided to home owners, who can find out more on their website or at their open house next Tuesday February 12, from 9 AM to 7 PM at 587 Huron Street, Stratford (Sobey’s Plaza). Technicians will be available to answer questions at 10, 2, and 5:30.  Wightman also has a technical support team located in Hanover Ontario. They are available to assist customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Several Rotarians offered personal testimonials lauding their courtesy and expertise.)
As part of their community commitment, Wightman Channel 6 is available to promote community events and projects free of charge.  It runs programs featuring local history, volunteer and service organizations, churches, and local sports groups.  Primarily staffed by volunteers, it also offers student co-op opportunities. Channel 1 is dedicated to Rotary Bingo on Tuesday nights. Currently supporting Fergus/Wellington and Hanover/Walkerton Clubs there will be opportunity for Stratford Clubs to participate in the future.
Walter Bathe thanked both speakers and noted that the number of questions raised during the talk was indicative of the interest for this service in Stratford.
Scribe: Pat Shewen
Rotary Announcements:                                                          
  1. Rotaract Club of Stratford … has launched their BOOKS FOR LITERACY project.  They are collecting books for all ages to be shipped to orphanages in South Africa.  The project runs until April 15th.  For more information or to donate contact April Haggart at .
  1. January 14th Board Meeting …
  1. Block Parent Program: The National Block Parent Program has disbanded and there has been no Provincial body formed. There are currently 7 chapters remaining. If we were to continue we would need to self-insure in addition to the existing costs.  The decision was made to withdraw our support from the Block Parent Program.
  1. Catch the Ace:  The Committee is working towards being ready to begin a second lottery beginning March 2, 2019.  The Board decided to support the Committee with $5,000 to cover start-up costs which would be reimbursed to the Board as revenue is generated.
  1. Membership Committee:  In the past protocol has been that the Past President becomes the chair of the membership committee.  There is currently a very busy Agenda for the membership committee and in the interest of continuity the current chair will continue for one more year.  This is too important a committee to have the chair rotate every year so Linda will remain as chair with myself as a committee member to support and assist.
Last week we welcomed our newest members, Kel Pero and Lana Burchett, to our Rotary Club.  Both new members were introduced by Past President Linda Bathe.
Guests: Today we welcomed Brian Bennett and Rick Skimson, both from the RC of Wilmot. 
Draw: A basket of fresh food donated by Debra Swan and the winner was Bob Gulliford.
Make-ups: No report. 
February’s Attendance Committee: Shawn Malvern (I/C), Ryan Erb, Rick Orr, Dan Kane, Wendy Anderson, Debra Swan, Michael Fox, Clare McCallum, Heidi Culliton.