The Flywheel

Program for september 22nd, 2006

The Best Kept Secret in CC County

County Treasurer Bill Pollacek tells us about one of Contra Costa County's best kept secrets, a scholarship fund that is a meaningful memorial to Senator Robert Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Meeting of SEPTEMBER 15th, 2006

Welcome, Invocation and Thought for the Day

Prez George Egan rang the bell and called the meeting to order at La Strada restaurant in San Pablo. A moment of silence was observed for peace on earth. Dave Brown led the pledge of allegiance to an imagined flag in the corner. Since Prez-in-waiting Pam Jones wasn’t present to provide a thought for the day, Prez George picked up where he left off at a prior meeting and offered further deep thoughts on bad days versus good days, reminding us that bad days can be just as long as good days. (bah-dum-bum.)

Visiting Rotarians

Angela Higdon was visiting from the Vacaville Rotary Club and she was our speaker as well. Charlie Wolf was visiting from a place I forgot to write down!

Rotarians with Guests

Guests of Werner Schwarz included insurance professional Yvette Thompson, Tom Bennett of Mechanics Bank, and Jeannette and Tommy Schneckenberger.

Sunshine Report

David K had an upbeat update on 30-year Rotarian Ted Smith, who has been dealing with serious medical problems, chemotherapy, etc. Ted’s doing better so keep the prayers going!


  • A representative from the El Sobrante Rotary Club reported that the computer-based language literacy program, which Richmond Rotary is helping to support, is up and running at the El Sobrante Boys & Girls Club. The main server, with software, is installed there. Computer access is also available at the local YMCA and Opportunity West. Teachers have been trained to help students gain access and student assessments will begin soon. Raffle tickets for a trip for four to Disneyland are being sold to raise more funds for program expansion.
  • Jon Lawlis urged everyone to attend the Rotary District Conference October 13-14 at the Hilton Hotel in Fairfield. The price is right ($10 for the whole family).
  • Jon also reminded the quiet crowd about future meeting locations: October 6 again at La Strada and October 12 (not the 13th) at a 12-noon joint meeting with the Soroptimists at Rockefeller Lodge (down the street from La Strada).

Special Events

Ex-Pres. Stoney introduced new member Yvette Hunter, who was sponsored by Werner.


Joey Bag’s handled the recognitions again.

  • Margaret Morkowski was recognized for her role in the “Eye on the Bay” TV special last Wednesday night in which Point Richmond was highlighted as well as the SS Red Oak Victory ship (way to go, Rich Brandes!).
  • It was good to see retired judge Dave Calfee again along with his wife Betty. Dave was glad to see that the group was “as virile as ever!”
  • Bill Dabney had a recent B-Day plus he’s flying to Europe within a week for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. He’ll be visiting lots of exotic destinations, including Barcelona, the Baleric Islands, Venice, Florence, and Rome.
  • David K had mixed emotions on his B-Day (Sep 11), but did enjoy travels to Portland and Seattle with his wife, the good weather throughout, and many fine meals.
  • Jim Young had a recent anniversary (as did his wife, he announced). They enjoyed a marvelous dinner at the East Brothers Lighthouse, where they also spent the night. Jim’s also got a B-Day coming up. (We also learned that Ralph Hill had donated lumber to the past refurbishment of East Brothers.)
  • Markku Pelanne and his wife Mary celebrated 31 years of marriage bliss by dining at a really nice restaurant in Walnut Creek (Something Civility?!).

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Herb Kohl had happy $$ for the enjoyable Rotary gathering for dinner and a play at the Masquers’ Theater. He also had some sad $$ because only 16 people were there.
  • Jon Lawlis had happy $$ that the person who thought they had lost their badge found it. And the person (who I think was Joe?) had sad $$ (for when he couldn’t find it) and happy $$ (now that he found it).
  • Jan Brown had happy $$ for the “real” (not the Chicago) Bears of UC Berkeley, who will have another great season! Jan’s also celebrating her 35th wedding anniversary soon and will be going to Boston to see her son, then to the Big Apple for further fun and frolic.
  • Erle Brown had happy $$ for the recent Cal Bears victory, which I think he viewed from the end zone with all the students because big bucks are needed for better seats.
  • Joanne Blum had happy $$ for being back and for Project Seed’s new engagements.

The Program

Jim Young introduced Tom Waller who introduced Angela Higdon, a District Director for Junior Achievement (JA) of the Bay Area. Angela, who’s been on the job about a year, is responsible for increasing JA activity in Solano County and West Contra Costa County. She shared the following info:

  • JA has been around since the early 1900’s and serves about six million kids in grades K-12 each year all around the world.
  • $2.9 million is spent annually on JA programs in the Bay Area with most funds provided by large corporate donors.
  • In West County last year, nearly 5000 students received exposure to JA course materials but the number can and should be much higher, especially in high schools. That’s the goal!
  • There are JA mini-courses for all grade levels, covering a wide variety of topics about the free enterprise system, from financial literacy to personal success skills. Each mini-course typically lasts from 5-10 weeks, one hour or less per week.
  • Each JA mini-course has a complete, ready-made set of materials for non-educator adult volunteers to use in presenting information and facilitating learning activities with students.
  • JA programs are fun to do and provide a great opportunity for caring adults to enter into classrooms, interact with young people in positive and constructive ways, and share their own experiences and insights.
  • Angela encouraged everyone to sign up as a JA volunteer!!! (And she also asked for the Club’s help to look into and possibly have reconsidered the apparent, but unclear, decision at Peres school to not do JA this year.)

Before adjourning, Prez George recognized Joe Kelman, who made a special $40 auction bid for a mysterious pair of shoes seen all alone under the head table. While the source of a faint odor was not confirmed, the shoes were quickly snatched up by a bearded fellow in an open-collared shirt.

Rotating Editor, Scribe, etc: Tom Waller