The Waunakee Rotary Club added has several five members this month - Carol Bleifield, Joel Lewis, Nick Petrulis, Ryan Walsh and Chris Zellner - and Angie Ramos joined the club several months ago.
Angie gave her classification talk at the Jan. 7 meeting, and the club had an opportunity to get to know her better. She said Todd Schmidt invited her to join, and after attending some of the Zoom meetings and learning what the club does, she said, “I want to be a part of it.”
Angie gave an interactive presentation to keep us all awake after lunch. In Columbia, where she was raised, lunchtime meals are larger and longer, with time allowed for a nap.
She came to the United States at age 19 to work at a resort in Wisconsin Dells so she could immerse herself in the English language. Today she is an interpreter for the Waunakee Community School District and is certified as a medical interpreter. She also is on the faculty at Madison College and is a Waunakee Neighborhood Connection volunteer, working also with the Waunakee Food Pantry. A mom and wife, Angie said she feels strongly about language access.
Sharing statistics from a recent census, Angie said throughout the world, the most commonly spoken language is English, followed by Mandarin and Spanish. In the United States, English is spoken the most, followed by Spanish, French, German and other languages. In Waunakee, 3.4% of the population speaks a language other than English.  
In Wisconsin, other than English, Spanish, German and Hmong are the other most spoken languages.
Angie also shared statistics about race and ethnicity, noting that in the U.S., white is the predominant race, followed by Black and Hispanic. From a medical standpoint, race is important as each has different DNA predispositions. In Waunakee, 93 percent of the population is white, followed by Hispanic, Asian and Black.
Language access is important, she said, as business owners must understand federal laws and regulations, along with policies. And in medicine, ensuring patients can communicate with doctors facilitates their engagement and treatment decisions. Lawsuits have been filed over institutions that fail to provide language access.
Angie stressed that language barriers don’t indicate an impairment. Intelligent, educated, professional individuals may not speak the language of the country they are in. Angie has seen doctors attempting to speak Spanish who sound like third-graders, she said.
“When we have language access, we can avoid miscommunication,” she added.
Angie was initially a staff interpreter with UW Health and left when she started the position with the Waunakee school district. She still does interpreting on a contract basis.
Other news:
-Volunteers are needed to help take down the Rotary Lights Jan. 9-10. Most of the displays have been dismantled but those and electrical cords need to be loaded onto trailers. On Jan. 9, the work will begin at 9 a.m.
-Club President Tom Kennedy said during a presidents meeting with the subdistrict, he learned a lot of clubs are not meeting at all. He’s pleased that the Waunakee club has continued to be active.
-Greg Garton will receive his second Paul Harris award. Tom said we may have to have a masked, socially distanced event to present this and provide an orientation for the new members.
-Jim Kattner and Ray Statz have tested the ice on the Village Center Pond, and pilings for the new pier may go in next week. Bob Lenz, who worked at the former canning factory near the pond, is writing a history for the village’s sesquicentennial.
-A drive-thru Easter Egg hunt is planned this year.
Birthdays: Jan. 8, Randy Guttenberg; Jan. 9, Bob Pulvermacher; Jan. 10, Taylor Endres; Jan. 11, Greg Garton.
Anniversaries: Jan. 9, Chris and Lynn Kenney.