NEXT MEETING: Ocotber 31, 2014

Halloween: Holy or Hellish?

As today’s lunch falls on Halloween, or “All Hallow’s Eve,” Sister Mary Greenan, FMA, Assistant Principal of Salesian College Preperatory School, will once again delight the club with an entertaining review of the history and traditions of the holiday. Figure out for yourself if Halloween is Holy or Hellish!

MEETING OF October 24, 2014


President Stoney Stonework called to order the Richmond Rotary Club. “Big Erle’ Brown was asked to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Stoney led us in the invocation, a silent prayer for Freedom, Peace & Justice on Earth… Sid, consulting his Dictionary of Real Definitions defined “Compromise” – The art of dividing a cake in such a way so that everyone preserves they each got the biggest piece.

Visiting Rotarians

Past-president and RotaCare champion Pate Thompson from Berkeley Rotary, and Doug Millar, Past-president of San Pablo Rotary visited our club today. Welcome!

Rotarians with Guests

Josue Rodriquez, VP & Manager of the First Bank San Pablo attended as Guest Doug Millar’s guest.

Sunshine Report

Great sunshine (we could use more rain), no Sunshine Report.


  • Heather Kulp and Stacey Street (henceforth referred to as the Awesome Sisters) suggested that the club should move the Xmas Party to January 24th and re-theme it as the Winter Wonderland Party. Lots of good reasons for doing this staring with less social and cultural completion and better choice of everything else. In a straw vote the members present agreed so we are off to a Winter Wonderland. The date is tentative but preferred. Watch for future announcements
  • Don ‘The Menehune’ Lau announced the upcoming Richmond/El Cerrito Firefighters Toy Drive Breakfast Fundraiser Oct. 31st, 6:30 AM at the Courtyard Marriott at Hilltop. The breakfast is FREE! Participants will be able to purchase raffle tickets for a cornucopia of prizes including the Menehune’s mystical Hawaiian incantation that will allow you to pass effortlessly through the rush hour traffic on I-80.
  • Pate Thompson told the club about the great virtuoso fiddle and world music concert that will be held at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, Nov. 13th at 8 PM. The concert is a benefit for the RotaCare Free Clinic in Richmond and features world renowned Scottish Fiddler Alasdair Fraser and cello maven Natalie Haas. This world class World Music concert benefitting Rotary’s RotaCare is not to be missed.
  • Jim Young announced the continuing Rotary – West County Reads Children’s Book Drive with 14 bins still available for placement. Thank you Alan Baer and Mark Howe for taking more bins! As there has been some confusion over ‘what is a children’s book, Jim gave a short demonstration with examples. NOT CHILDREN”S BOOKS – Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’, anything by Nietzsche, “The Rotarian” & “National Geographic”. CHILDREN’S BOOKS – “The Little Engine that Could”, “The Wizard of Oz” and Jim’s personal favorite, “The Big Book of Real Trains”. Those still wondering about children’s books can consult this link to Amazon’s Children’s Book Categories

Besides placing a book collection bin at your place of business, church or favorite hangout, here’s what every Rotarian can do to support the Book Drive:

    • Clean out your bookshelves and donate gently used children’s books you no longer want.
    • Volunteer to collect books once or twice a week (see Mark Howe or Jim Young).
    • Volunteer to help sort books at TBD times.
    • Donate cash. Donations will be used to purchase Spanish/English paperback dictionaries and bilingual children’s books. Make checks payable to “The Ed Fund-WCR”.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Prez Stoney introduced Berkeley PP Grier Graff and his faithful Scottish companion Past-president Pate Thompson, who are visiting Richmond Rotary to describe and promote Berkeley’s Spring International Project in Las Varas Mexico. There are a lot of facts about this ongoing project including ease of access via the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, manageable cost in the $1,350 for 8 days AND air travel, overnight accommodation in the seaside community of Chacala and a lot of Rotary fellowship. I’m going to bullet point some of those facts below, but the standout fact is the measurable impact Berkeley Rotary has had on the local communities of Chacala, La Penita & Zcualpan in the 15 years since the project, projects really, began in 1998.

Pate explained that it all began in 1998 when he dropped anchor of the then remote village of Chacala while sailing the tropical coast of Mexico. Chacala was a remote, picturesque, charming and extremely poor seaside village. This poverty was exemplified by the broken down high school building that was under used as no young people went to school beyond the 8th grade. The Berkeley effort started with building a second story instructional center and laboratory on the existing one room high school. Pat is justifiably proud of the fact that now 75% of Chacala youth go on to high school and many go on to the University. This includes a local doctor that grew up in Chacala and now practices medicine there.

So this story goes, around the other agricultural communities in the area including La Penita, Zacualpan and now Las Varas. Grier said that the many years of effort have developed real alliances with the local communities including the co-sponsoring Rotary Club of La Penita and the parent/school communities in each project towns. Grier said that in this part of Mexico Rotary projects are seen for their product as well as their promise.

Speaking of the project Grier said:

  • The project will build or finish out three new laboratories, a teaching kitchen and a new science/computer lab.
  • Work will be done by teams of visiting and local Rotarians and school parents and students.
  • The original high school building in Las Varas that prompted this project was an old tobacco drying shed.
  • The Global Grant supporting the project is for $160K and is the largest grant in District 5160 this year.

About travel and accommodations Grier said:

  • Project teams in three, 8 day travel/work cycles, will begin arriving April 21st and end May 15th.
  • Cost is expected to be $500 air fare, $850 for room, board and transportation from Puerto Vallarta and daily between Chacala and Las Varas.
  • All skill levels are needed and will be used.
  • There are 26 participating Rotary Clubs so there will be great Rotary fellowship
  • The workday will be from 8 AM to 1 PM. And that includes travel time to Las Varas.
  • Margarita Time starts at 5 PM each evening on the beach unless it is moved up.
  • Reservations can be made starting in November with Berkeley Rotary by contacted Project leader Grier Graff, or 510-653-4500. Watch for flyers announcing additional information and sign up for the project e-newsletter.
  • You may also want to spend a few days in Puerto Vallarta. In that case you may want to bring more cash.

Prez Stoney thanked Grier and Pate for one heck of a service opportunity and an outstanding example of Rotary International projects working right here in District 5160.

A note on last week’s program

If you missed Menbere Aklilu’s “Who Am I” program last week and want more information about the GRIP-Saluté Thanksgiving Celebration, go to There you can also find a KTVU video clip about the 2012 Thanksgiving Celebration at Saluté Restaurant.

Rotating Editor, Jim Young