NEXT MEETING: November 20, 2015

Migrating Faith

Migration is at the core of the sacred texts of many traditions. Adam and Eve must leave the garden of Eden; Abraham and Sarah venture out with nothing but a promise; Siddhārtha Gautama the prince who becomes the Buddha begins his path to enlightenment by traveling around his kingdom; Jesus begins his life as a refugee hiding from Herod; the prophet Mohamed’s return from exile to Mecca is traced back as one of the pillars of Islam.

Join Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy for a conversation about the sustaining power of religious narratives that speak to our own stories of change——migrations across national or physical boundaries or beyond personal boundaries of belief and experience.

Rev. Vásquez-Levy serves as President of Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California – a progressive, interdenominational Christian seminary committed to preparing spiritually and theologically rooted leaders for social transformation. A committed pastor, a nationally recognized immigration leader, and a sought after speaker, Vásquez-Levy leads at the intersection of faith, higher education, and social change.

(Pictured: The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Mosacio, 1425.)

MEETING OF November 13, 2015


President Alan Blavins called the meeting to order and asked Tom Butt to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Sid Chauvin’s thought for the day, from Aesop, of Fables fame: We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. President Alan called for a moment of silence for peace on earth and good will to all.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

  • Jon Lawlis brought his sweetie Darlene Quinville as his guest.
  • Alan Baer introduced Herve Hui-Bon-Hoa from the Bank of Guam.
  • Josh Surowitz introduced Jason Mustard.


  • Don Lau reminded everyone that the Holiday Auction is coming up SOON, on December 4th, the first Friday after Thanksgiving. That means there is only one more meeting before the auction, since the club is dark on 11/27 due to Thanksgiving. We still need everyone to sign up and contribute an auction lot – Nick Despota has made it very easy to enter your item by clicking on the Holiday Auction button on the Rotary website. We already have some great items lined up – Menbe Aklilu and Jerry Feagley are preparing a VERY special and elegant dinner at Jerry’s house; Hank Covell and Dorene (no Dorene’s cookies this year) are offering a special dinner at their house; Stacey Street (your scribe!) and her husband Don are offering a special Margarita and Fajitas party; Mark and Shana Howe will host something, and many others! We still need MORE lots, and then we also need lots people to come ad BID! Alan suggested getting an item in Richmond Standard – Stacey will get in touch with them.
  • Pam Jones announced that Richmond Rotary would be conducting a toy drive again and collecting unwrapped new toys on Friday, December 11th.   See next announcement about location and time since it will be different that day… Pam also noted that there is now a PayPal button to donate money to buy bikes for Richmond kids – super easy!
  • Joe Bagley let members know that on December 11th the Club would be hosting a special holiday event. Rather than a separate, high-end dinner, members, as well as spouses, family and friends, are invited to enjoy a holiday happy hour and mixer from 4 to 7 pm at Richmond Art Center. BARSHEEP Rotary Clubs will be invited as well. Don’t forget to bring your toy to this special event!
  • David Brown read two letters from teachers at Peres Elementary School for the wonderful donations provided by Richmond Rotary. The teachers were clearly deeply touched and shared the many critical items they were able to purchase to enrich their teaching. Thanks to everyone who contributed – it truly makes a difference!
  • Menbe,  Saluté’s owner and founder of what has become one of Richmond’s proudest traditions, expects to serve a record 1,300 guests in three seatings at this year’s feast on November 26. An impressive group of businesses, non-profits, and community leaders have lined up to offer donations and services that will make the Fifth Annual Free Thanksgiving Feast for the Needy. Read more.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District and You

Your Scribe today introduced speaker Andrew Pierce, noting his appropriate name for the subject matter… Andrew has worked for almost ten years for the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District, providing public health education outreach in the form of public speaking engagements throughout the county. A “vector” can be any creature that can cause serious danger or discomfort to humans. Vectors include mosquitoes, mice and rats, ticks, yellowjackets and skunks. The District, not technically a government agency, but one providing free services to all residents of the county, was created over 90 years ago when residents banded together after facing significant public health challenges.

Andrew described the challenges created by the different vectors, focusing mainly on mosquitoes. He explained the ways the District helps prevent these challenges and also takes care of issues when they occur.

Some highlights:

  • Mosquitoes: There are 23 different kinds in Contra Costa County. All mosquitoes hatch in stagnant water – it takes only 2-3 tablespoons of stagnant water to produce several hundred mosquitoes! Major health risk is West Nile Virus: the mild form mimics flu, severe form can be fatal. “One neglected swimming pool=1 million mosquitoes, which can affect people up to 5 miles away!” Prevention can take many forms: dump standing water frequently, report issues to the district when encountered, use mosquitofish (fish that love to eat mosquito larvae – district offers them for free at their offices), use chemical fogging when necessary for adult mosquito problems.
  • Mice/rats and skunks have the disease potential to spread bacterial infections in the former, rabies in latter. Prevention requires eliminating food and shelter opportunities (especially citrus and birdseed for mice and rats!). Actions taken require a full report for the district.
  • Yellowjackets:There are 4 species in Contra Costa County. There may be up to 15,000 in a nest, which can be on the ground or up high. District will treat ground nests if you know where they are located.
  • Ticks: Deer ticks in Contra Costa can spread Lyme Disease. Prevention requires conducting a thorough check whenever you have been near grass/trees where ticks wait to prey on people and animals. Andrew explained how to remove them with tweezers.

Visit for more information.

- Stacey Street, Rotating Editor