NEXT MEETING: January 9, 2014

Rotary... The Recess of Our Lives!

District Governor 2014 Pam Gray from Rotary District 5140 visits Richmond Rotary for a special presentation.  Pam shares about the District “office”, why we love Rotary and an opportunity to travel on a Rotary wheelchair trip in March – a trip that won’t break the budget.

A second generation Rotarian, Pam was born in Paradise, CA., where she returned after college in 1984 to work in the families’ businesses, Rose Chapel Mortuary in Paradise and Scheer Memorial Chapel in Oroville.  As President of the Rotary Club of Paradise in 2007, her motto was “Rotary is the recess of our lives!”, now the motto for her District.  Pam’s vision to make Rotary FUN and inclusive was realized—along with the goal of having every Club Member to her home for a social at least once during the year.  After serving as Assistant Governor in the North Valley, Pam received the District Governor’s “Service Above Self”Award in 2010.  She has a lot of Rotary in her life – Pam’s husband Brian, a Rotarian since 1992, was Assistant District Governor for the North Valley Flying Squirrels.

MEETING OF December 19, 2014


It was a dark and stormy day. President Stoney Stonework called to order the Richmond Rotary Club. Jon Lawlis lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Stoney led us in a silent prayer for Freedom, Peace & Justice on Earth. Alan, who was tending the door for one sick Sid. told us that Sid said, “You don’t want me to breathe on you”. After the club unanimously agreed, our virtually elegant Alan’s voice dropped off and his Words of Wisdom didn’t make it to the other side of the room. Alan, speak like Churchill or use the mike!

Visiting Rotarians

Matt Lingo, our Berkeley Rotary pal, visited us today.

Rotarians with Guests

Jon Lawlis introduced is fiancée Darlene. Mark Howe introduced his fiancée, Shanna. Herb Cole introduced Joe Kelman and his wife Elizabeth. Jim Young introduced his wife Linda and Robin Yee Wilson from West County Reads.

Sunshine Report

Bill Koziol agreed that it is a dark and stormy day… Hank Covell reported that Doreen’s cookies got to Ralph (No Asterisks!) Hill, who is doing ok and Ralph’s $1,000 got to the club. Hank encouraged the members to call Ralph’s cell and leave a message. He may not answer but listens to everything. You heard about Sid…. Prez Stoney reported the George Egan is home from hospital and also doing ok.


  • Treasurer DAB announced a very successful Holiday Auction with gross receipts in the $24,000+ neighborhood, making it the 2nd or 3rd best auction in club history and well ahead of our typical $20K +/-. Hoping we are looking at the ‘new normal’ David noted that total items auctioned were down but bidding was way up. Thank you Rotarians and friends!
  • We ‘passed the hat’ to collect a Holiday gratuity for the County Club wait-staff, who have given us excellent service throughout the year. If you missed ‘the hat’ and feel so inclined, get those checks to David ASAP.
  • Alan Baer reminded everyone that this weekend is Salvation Army bell ringing at Macy’s.
  • Robin Y. Wilson (Dan Yee’s daughter) thanked Rotary on behalf of West County Reads for the Fall Book Drive which collected between 800 – 1,000 children’s books. Thanks also for the cash support for new book purchases. WCR was able to donate 350 books to the Richmond Main Street Holiday Party and has another 300 books that will be given away at the Verdi Elementary School Coat and Toy Celebration.
  • Jim Young gave Book Drive thanks to all those who helped with donations and bin placement with special thanks to Mark Howe for donating storage space and Sid Chauvin for his truck and ‘mechanical aptitude’.
  • Not Announced was what happened to the annual election of club officers. Stay tuned for the announcement of a Club Assembly which is sure to happen in the new year.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


WCCCUSD Superintendent Bruce Harter reports on the state of our schools

Prez Stoney introduced our own (Dr.) Bruce Harter, Superintendent of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, for an update on the school district and comments about the Common Core new curriculum that is being implemented in California and the USA.

Bruce Harter ResizedAs usual, Bruce’s presentation was information rich. Here are some of his prime comments about Common Core:

  • Too many college freshmen need remediation upon arrival at college. Common Core aims to focus on language arts skills and math in high school and eliminate the need for remediation.
  • In English language reading the focus is shifting away from narrative prose to technical reading for information.
  • Writing skills will focus on the ability to sight sources, make conclusions and support those conclusions with references.
  • Common Core will bring additional resources to the district to support low income, English language learner, and foster children students. Bruce said the District knows it has many students in the first two groups and is now assessing the population of foster/children/students.

In other noteworthy developments Bruce said there has been improvement in campus behavior, discipline and student community identity, including:

  • Better family involvement and student engagement. He cited the drop in student expulsions from 200 in 2013-14 to zero this school year as a tangible example.
  • Investing in the ’whole child’ concept including health clinics on Middle School and High School campuses and the dental clinic at Peres that was organized by Dan Tanita and Richmond Rotary. Bruce said the clinics have helped improve student health and school attendance.
  • The use of ‘restorative justice’ on some high school campuses that creates a ‘jury of student peers as an alternative to administrative discipline and simultaneously holds students accountable for their actions in the context of community expectations.
  • The district also continues to pursue an ‘anti-bullying agenda based on increase individual school pride.

Other noteworthy information included:

The District has established the goal of ‘on to one’ computing meaning it intends to provide a table (a computing table, not a slate tablet) to every student. Bruce said he hopes that will allow a future reduction in the number of text books needed by students and a big saving for the District.

Based on student and staff surveys, Bruce is pleased that:

  • 80%+ of the students feel teachers really care about them as people.
  • 80%+ of the teaching staff feel a sense of accomplishment.

While it will take money and commitment he hopes to rebuild the District’s arts, music and sports programs.

A newsworthy note at the end of the program based on Bruce’s initial slide that showed students reading, “Richmond Tales, Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle”. Robin Y. Wilson said that West County book and school text has been selected by the California Teachers Association for Read Across America for 2015 and will be featured in the CTA newsletter and at the three CTA conventions around the state. For those who don’t already know it, the book has also spawned a sequel, “Oakland Tales, Lost Secrets of the Town”, commissioned by the Oakland Unified School District and including many of the same characters from “Richmond Tales…”.

And with that happy ending we thank Bruce Harter for an informative program and continuing success improving our local schools.

Before he rang the bell for the last time in 2014 Prez Stoney reminded the club that we will be dark until January 9th when everyone needs to show up because the District Governor is going to be our speaker.


Rotating Scribe, Jim Young