The Flywheel

Next Meeting: May 25th

Teen Mom's Project

For the last several years, members of the Richmond Rotary have shown their support for young mothers still in high school with gift bags packed with diapers, baby shampoo, infant books, dental hygiene kits and, thanks to our Rotary friends in Lafayette, handmade blankets.

This Friday, led by drill sergeant Jan Brown (who has successfully coordinated the project in years past), we'll assemble the individualized bags for 37 moms at Richmond High School. And we need your help.

See you there!


Meeting of Friday, May 18th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

On another bright, sunny day at the Richmond Country Club, Past President Alan Baer called the meeting to order. Markku Pelanne lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Herb Cole asked for a moment of silence for peace, freedom and justice on earth. Henry Kelman made note of the fact that the Richmond Country Club has treated us all very well.

Visiting Rotarians

Former District Governor, Jim Campbell, and his wife, Linda joined us today.

Rotarians with Guests

Guests at today’s meeting included Rick Wood, Kathy Anderson and Ed Gil.

Sunshine Report

John Nicol is on the mend, feeling good and would appreciate phone calls and visitors.


  • Tom Butt and his wife, Shirley, are hosting the 9th Annual Refinery Town BBQ & Bluegrass at Nicholl Knob on Sunday, May 27, from 2pm to 6pm.
  • Don Lau announced that the 94th Annual YMCA Dinner will be held at the Richmond Country Club on June 7th. Please contact Don for details.
  • Jan Brown announced that next week the Teen Moms' gift bags will be put together (see above). On Tuesday, May 29th, at 9am the following week, the packages will be distributed at Richmond High School. For the past two years, Linda Campbell has coordinated a special handmade gift for each package. Jan encourages everyone who can make it that day to join them for distribution of the packages. Please contact Jan for further details.


Don Lau was in rare form seeking out Ralph Hill in anticipation of his 89th birthday next week on May 25th, and Alan Baer reminded us that the Club is, all these years later, still using Ralph’s father’s poker chips from the 1930’s!

Happy and Sad Dollars

    There was a fairly fine balance between happy and sad dollars today:

  • Josh Surowitz was sad because he will not be able to attend any meetings for the next couple weeks due to his upcoming trip to Barcelona (poor guy)

  • George Egan was beyond pleased to be celebrating the anniversary of his “second” birthday on May 26, the date several years ago that he literally died but was saved, and survived the ordeal only to awaken after summer had already passed him by, alive, nonetheless
  • Michelle Itagaki found herself with mixed happy and sad dollars -- sad due to the inability of several of the expected passengers to attend a chartered yacht trip on the Delta with Michelle, but happy because despite the small turnout, it was a delightful excursion. Nonetheless, Michelle was ecstatic as she described how her son was going to be graduating Magna Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College tomorrow morning
  • Jim Beaver, who had recently told the Club that he would be relocating to Southern California, was sad to see that Sid had left his name off the new membership badge box list, but was more than pleased when Sid told him that it meant he didn’t need to pay for lunch anymore!

Norm's Nonsense

A dedicated shop steward is at a convention in Las Vegas and decides to go into a brothel. He asks the madam, "Is this a union house?"
"No, it's not," she replies.
"So, how much do the girls earn?" the union man asks.
"Well, if you pay me $100, the house gets $80 and I pay the girl $20."
The man says, "That's terrible!" and stomps out.

Finally he finds a brothel where the madam says,
"Yes, this is a union house."
"And if I pay you $100, what cut does the girl get?"
"She gets $80."
"That's great!" the man says. "I'd like Tiffany."
"I'm sure you would," says the madam, "but Ethel here has seniority."



The Joint Genome Institute comes to town

Tom Waller introduced our guest speaker today, David Gilbert, Public Affairs Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Joint Genome Institute (“JGI”). Together with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the DOE has undertaken a program, an offshoot of the Human Genome Project, to use genome sequencing for the purpose of identifying and exploiting plant, fungal, microbial and metagenomic materials in order to solve bioenergy, carbon cycling and bioremediation problems. In short, for the past 15 years, the JGI has been sequencing the genomes of as many materials as possible that may provide alternative sources of fuels and energy for future use in place of fossil fuels.

Essential to this mission, and in order to catapult the research to the next level, the JGI must develop a state-of-the-art “Second Campus” that complements the land-locked Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The plan is that this second campus be part of the LBLN Richmond facility. This will permit a geographic consolidation of numerous distinct but interrelated research facilities that are now located throughout the Bay Area—and geographic consolidation means more collaboration.

In a nutshell, JGI believes that the establishment of a second campus in Richmond will enable it to signficantly improve and increase its research on alternative energy sources.

- Rotating Editor, David Keystone