GERMANY A Pied Piper of Biking Beckons The Pied Piper story is set in the ancient town of Hamelin, Germany. That makes Lion Paul Fasse of Hamelin a kind of Pied Piper. He wants Lions to come to Hamelin. But the payoff he offers is entirely beneficial: fellowship with Lions, celebrating the Lions’ centennial and getting in some exercise while enjoying the beautiful German countryside. A Gran Fondo bicycle rider pedals in Germany last year. German Lions hope to attract 100 Lions worldwide to ride in the Gran Fondo bicycle ride in Hamelin on Sept.3. The ride in Germany is one of 14 Gran Fondo races worldwide in 2017. Participants can ride 80 or 100 miles or even divide the race between multiple riders. Last year, Fasse, a 58-year-old veterinarian, rode in the Gran Fondo New York race. Fasse can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. JAPAN Salmon Repopulated in Precious River Poisoned by the nearby Ashio Copper Mine, the once majestic Watarase River that flows through Sano City became known as the “river of death” by 1900. Fish died by the tens of thousands, and farm crops were ruined by the pollution. Children and adults in Sano City release young salmon into the Watarase River. But today, after 35 years of environmental action, the river has made a startling comeback. A key component of its revival has been the release of hundreds of thousands of young salmon into the river. The Sano Chuo Lions Club chartered the same year the salmon initiative began in 1982 and has provided funds and hands-on help for the salmon repopulation since its founding. Last year alone, backed by the Lions club and a citizens’ group dedicated to the river, 20,000 young salmon, called fry, were released into the river in a single day. Residents had hatched the fish eggs at home before carefully transporting them to the river for the epic release. The fry have been able to survive—and eventually migrate to the ocean before returning to fresh water to spawn—because the river has been cleaned up. Last year, more than 500 salmon ascents were verified in the river. The detail-oriented Sano Chuo Lions smooth the way for residents’ environmental actions. They even cut the grass on the river embankments so that children can safely walk down to the water. AUSTRALIA Scenic Road Owes It All to Lions Regarded as one of the most scenic drives in Australia, the road offers rolling hills, sharp curves and stunning scenery. It takes you through hidden valleys and subtropical rain forests. If you time it right, you can see a train or two emerge from tunnels that are part of the grand Spiral Loop railway line. Australian Lions are particularly proud of the road: the nearby Kyogle Lions Club built the 11-kilometer (6.8 miles) Lions Road in 1970. Members still maintain Lions Road, mowing the grass, repairing weathered signs, cleaning up picnic areas and regularly collecting the donations placed in a toll box. Lions Road is well-known and much appreciated in Australia. Drivers are generous with donations. For security reasons, the club does not disclose the amount. But coupled with matching government grants over the past several years, the funds allowed the sealing of the road, formerly a narrow gravel road, its widening in stretches and periodic patching. More than 100,000 vehicles annually use Lions Road, a shortcut between Kyogle and Beaudesert in Queensland. Travelers delight in the one-lane wooden bridges, the lush pine forests, the panoramic valley views and occasional glimpse of wildlife such as wallabies. The club decided to build the road in 1969 after the local governing bodies could not agree on details of a road project. Lions spent weekends not only building the road but also installing culverts and fencing to keep cattle away from drivers. Machinery, materials and even gas were donated. Beaudesert Lions joined the project in 1971. Emptying the donation box and monitoring its three security cameras take a considerable amount of time and manpower. “To get the money one person has to lie on the ground, and the other two are there for traffic control,” says President Col Griffiths. The fourth Lions club in Australia, the Kyogle Lions Club chartered in 1952. The club has gotten a lot of mileage out of the road. For its 40th anniversary a book by a charter member on the beloved road raised AUS$45,000 (US$34,500), donated to a rescue helicopter. ENGLAND Lions Respond to a Record Winter Storm Members of the Radcliffe & Whitefield Lions Club deliver a washing machine to a flooded home. Accompanied by punishing winds, Storm Desmond dumped 13 inches of rain on Borrowdale in one day, breaking the United Kingdom’s 24-hour rainfall record. The winter storm flooded 16,000 homes and businesses, swamped farmland and cut off villages in northwest England for days. Lions from more than 10 clubs filled sandbags, distributed food and gathered and delivered mops, buckets, dehumidifiers and heaters. Lions collected relief funds on the street and also used multiple district grants to support relief efforts. “There was a sense of wartime spirit that existed in all the areas affected,” according to the LION for the British and Irish. “So many Lions gave their time and performed heroic deeds that their communities will never forget.”
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