October 6, 2017

NEXT MEETING: October 6, 2017

The History of Richmond

Local Historian Karen Buchanan will present an entertaining slideshow on the early history of Richmond.

Ms. Buchanan is a Richmond resident and history hike leader. She is a very active volunteer in the Richmond Community, involved with many local organizations, including the Point Richmond History Association, the Women’s Westside Improvement Club, the Richmond Main Street Initiative, Visit Richmond CA, and Point Richmond Music. Ms. Buchanan is an autodidact with an insatiable curiosity and a lifelong love of history. She has had a long and varied career, including working as a United States Senate Page, a Stand-up Comedian, Legal Secretary and for the past 21 years, a public servant with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District, currently managing workers’ compensation and liability claims for the District.


• We’re back at the Richmond Country Club this week.
• Our Holiday Auction is December 8th and the Holiday Party is December 15th.
• The El Cerrito Rotary will host a Wine And Artisan Cheese event on Sunday, October 1, at Berkeley Country Club (formerly the Mira Vista Country Club).
• The El Sobrante Rotary is holding its Oktoberfest on October 21 at 6 pm, at the Berkeley Yacht Club. The event raises funds for sustainable education.

MEETING OF September 29, 2017


Connie Tritt presided over the meetings at Café Soleil. Sid Chauvin in his usual sagacity, shared this sobering thought: “Alcohol doesn’t solve any problems, but then neither does milk.”

Rotarians with Guests

Jon Lawlis introduced Darlene Quenville,

Herb Cole presented his wife Norma

The “other” Darlene (Drapkin) introduced Leslie Lundin, from LBG Real Estate that bought the Hilltop Mall in July, 2017. Ms Lundin gave a quick report on plans for the mall. Sears, Walmart and Macy’s will remain in the improved, “Shops at Hilltop”. The complex will be an entertainment center, of sorts. LBG plans to add a movie theater. They will buy the presently dark JC Penny building. The coompany will bring in a grocery store, perhaps a spa, and two coffee shops, including Fast Track coffee. They’ll add popp-ups for the jolidays. Leslie invited Rotarians to refer any interested parties. They’ll visit the current layout to add future housing and optimize the existing 6,000 parking spaces.

Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars

Hank Covell celebrated his 82nd birthday. He started holding hands with his wife 65 years ago. They’re happy to have good friends and family.

Mae Saechao celebrated her 9th anniversary, exclaiming that she has been married 9 years longer than she anticipated! Every year they go somewhere to celebrate and this year it is Peru.

Alan Baer was recognized for his 10th anniversary. For Alan, as for Mae, time just flew by. So much so he didn’t even know how long he’d been married!


Turning to Happy/Sad Dollars, Alan Blavins happily celebrated his dad’s 93rd birthday in Oregon.

Josh Surowitz is planning a trip on November 4th to Barcelona. He put in dates from OAK to BCN direct and couldn’t believe it’s less than $500 in coach roundtrip!

Erle Brown gloated, “Cal gave USC a heluva ball game!” Tomorrow Cal plays quack/quack people. Happy $5. Go Bears

Jan Brown was sad because a week ago her iPhone was pickpocketed. She could see it travelling online. This week she lost her wallet, however and a Good Samaritan returned it.

Alan Blavins tells Josh, “After age 60 you don’t fly coach.” He’s paying $3,000 to go to Brazil.

Dave Brown is buying a new plane! (As if the FAA doesn’t have enough on its hands already.)

Sid Chauvin celebrates his youngest child is 36

Cecilia Orozco is happy that her commitment to getting healthier is paying off. Despite having 3 kids, she’s getting 7 hours of sleep, goes to the gym by 5:30 to work out. She’s eating healthier and lost 5 pounds. “I want to keep doing it forever!”


Oakland’s Retail Renaissance: What’s the Scoop?

Keira Williams has been a retail analyst at the City of Oakland since 2001. Despite brick & mortar retail giving way to online shopping, restaurants and service businesses are gaining strength. “Experiential” shopping is popular. Locally owned businesses are growing the local economy. Small retail creates a sense of place. Keira advises working comprehensively to prepare neighborhoods to make them safer and more inviting. One litmus test of success: If woman feels safe moving about town, Oakland’s revitailization efforts are succeeding.

She offered several other observations: Retail doesn’t always need to occupy the bottom floor. Gentrification issue is overplayed since the improvements the bring are good for everyone. The current high lease prices are a bubble and are unlikely to persist into the future.

Darlene Drapkin, Rotating Scribe