The Flywheel


Polio Plus Effort in Ghana
Jon Lawlis and Herb Cole share stories and slides from their trip to Ghana for Rotary’s Polio Plus effort.


Meeting of December 1st, 2006

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Approaching the half-way point, benevolent dictator Prez George rang the meeting to order. Stoney provided a moment of silence for peace and justice on earth.Ted Abreu led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Visiting Rotarians

No guest, no visitors today.

Sunshine Report

David K reported that Judy Kafka recently lost her Daughter in Law. A card of sympathy was circulated. Our thoughts are with you and your family, Judy.


Move cursor over picture for show-off shot

Jon Lawlis, Werner Schwarz and Pam Jones visited the Mobile Eye-Surgery Clinic in in Rio Vista Recently.

The Clinic is a vision and minor surgery facility housed in a 40 foot trailer that will be delivered to tsunami-devastated fishing villages in Thailand. Cost of the trailer, delivered to Thaliand: $290,000. (Read more.)

The Mobile Clinic is one of the largest projects in our district in many years. (Move your cursor over the picture and note that our club tops the list of supporters. Way to go!)


The Rotary Auction is just two weeks away.  Please contact Don Lau or Jim Beaver with your items.

Leslie Levy provided handouts and her thoughts on how the Club can help Bay Area Crisis Nursery.  It is the only infant care facility in Contra Costa County.  A list of items needed by the center was provided, including food, hair items, clothing, diapers, etc.  Donations of all types are needed. Please bring your items for donation to the Auction Cash is always accepted.

Joe Bagley discussed the program and signup list for Salvation Army Bell Ringers (no musical expertise required; in fact...) The Club will once again sponsor an afternoon of bell ringing to help raise funds for the Salvation Army. The date is Saturday December 16th, at Albertsons in Pinole from 10-6. Two hour shifts are planned. This is a fun and rewarding event. Please contact Joe to participate.

Secretary Jon Lawlis announced that the President’s Selection Committee completed its work, and the nominee has accepted.  Mark Howe has agreed to be our Grand Poobah for Rotary Year 2008-2009.  Thank you Mark!


Don Lau articulated a reminder on the Holiday Auction and then discussed the fern that Jim Young allegedly mounted. John Troughton was recognized for his good work in Richmond —working with the Mayor’s Office, John Gioia’s Office and the community to keep a major company in town.  John gave credit to the guy who did all the work — Cory Lawrence.  And they both made nice contributions to the Club.

Leslie Levy was recognized for yet another birthday.  On the 26th of November she enjoyed a great dinner at the Dry Creek Kitchen in Napa.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Hank Covell found money in his wallet to praise the 19 wild turkeys (not the kind in the bottle) on his lawn in El Sobrante. Mark Howe was glad to be back at a meeting after several weeks and a spiritual awakening. Herb Cole had a happy $5 for many things, all revolving around the Cal/USC game. Stoney had dollars for when Ohio State beats USC. Jan Brown was happy for the good time she had at the Cal/USC game. Erle Brown contributed dollars for the great dinner – a Holiday Auction item – served by Ted and Joan Abreu. Yours truly was happy to have survived the foamy seas off Alto and Baja California. Margaret Morkowski had sad dollars for Judy Kafka’s loss, but happy dollars for the November 15 Pere school reading program, and passed out certificates to participants Jan Brown, Prez George, Ren Partridge, and E.J. Shalaby. Glen Daggs had sad dollars about the recent death of the Richmond female police officer – a high flyer in the force and a victim of domestic violence. Bob Dabney was very happy with the success of the mentoring program he organized at Richmond High School for 120 male students. Ted Abreu was delighted his anxiety has ended over the Auction dinner party, and thankful that his quests the Hardisons and Erle Browns were polite during the event. David K was very happy that Mark Howe agreed to be a future Prez, and even more that sturgeon season has arrived. Jim Young contributed dollars in anticipation of Marsha Tomassi’s scheduled speaking event at the club – he hopes to learn how to eat really great food, in small amounts.

Raffle Results

Lucky Troy Pewitt had the ticket and pulled the orange ball to boot! 

The Program

Who Am I? Two new members and a Has Been

Frank Desplancke led the way, telling of his colleges and early life before joining the Salvation Army.  Frank attended El Camino College and later CAL State Long Beach, where he majored in electrical engineering.  He worked in engineering for several years, then was called to the Salvation Army.  He spent 3 years in warm Tucson, 2 in Grass Valley and has been in Richmond for about 1 ½ years.  He and his wife Beth have 2 children Ryan and Emily, with a third on the way(Samuel).  Frank noted that the Salvation Army is celebrating 100 years in Richmond.  This Thanksgiving they served 125 food boxes and are planning for 350 for Christmas.  He appreciates the support he receives from the community, and of course can always use more to help the needy.

Alan Baer finds himself a supporter of Stanford – he was born there.  He’s operated Armor Locksmith in Point Richmond for at least 10 years, since he’s gone that long without a vacation.  Last year he and his wife organized a multi-island family fiesta in the Philippines, providing an opportunity  for their children to see both family and the islands.  On one island he realized there were 7000 residents, all related to him!  Alan helped startup a Rotoract Club while in college. 

And a Has Been Am I, by Prez Elect/Elect Mark Howe.  Since many of us were fortunate enough to miss Mark’s original Who Am I, it was repeated with some additional flair.  Mark attempted to make this a question and answer session, but was encouraged to do a little show and tell.  He confided that he will need another session of spiritual training before ascending to the role of Prez.  Mark was born in Tripoli, Libya – his Dad was a dentist with the U.S. Air Force.  He grew up in Goleta/Santa Barbara and enjoyed U.C. Davis so much that he spent 7 years there.  He and his lovely wife Susan have a 16 year old son and a twelve year old daughter.  Mark talked about his vision for the Club, which he intends to take to the Board of Directors.  While working in downtown Richmond near MacDonald and First, he heard gunshots and found himself witness to a murder.  His vision is to create a park in the area, named after the unfortunate victim.  His company will donate land and services, and he would like to find some partners in the project.  The park will memorialize the young man who was murdered while driving through town.  A grand vision and a worthy response to the unacceptable level of homicides in our fair city.      

-Semper Paratus