The Flywheel

Program for FEBRUARY 2ND, 2007

Lesa McIntosh
President of the EBMUD Board

Ms. McIntosh, President of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, will talk about the Claremont Tunnel project, the San Pablo Resevoir, and the need for water conservation at this time.


Meeting of January 26, 2007

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

George Egan our dynamic and forceful new president opened the meeting today and Stoney led us in the invocation.  Judy Kafka led us in the pledge.  Pam Jones’ thought for the day had something to do with an Oak Tree, two nuts, one of which stood his ground. I obviously missed something here.

GUESTS (Another full house today)

  • Jim Cambell our District Governor Nominee was visiting today from the Moraga club, I believe.  Maybe I need a hearing aid.
  • Jerry Feagley, AKA “What’s his face”, was visiting us again today.  He needs a red badge so I don’t have to keep writing about him.
  • Bill Terry brought his first guest as a certified Blue badger – Everett Jenkins who is or certainly was with the Richmond City Attorney’s office.
  • Jim Young brought a colleague from Greater Bay Bank whose name is Alex Ushakov – yes you’re right he is Russian and has been in the states for 9 years.


David K says that Elof is getting better and David had a card for Troy Pewitt who just had his third child.  We all signed the card and then we handed it to Troy who was in the audience.


Don Lau acknowledged John Nicols birthday.  He is now officially a senior citizen.  We all sang he is a “Jolly Good Fellow” to recognize his annual train trip efforts – but he unfortunately will no longer be the coordinator for the trip – he at the end of the line. 


  • Bill Terry was recently put in charge of the new door raffle.  They say you can win a trip to Hawaii like Leslie Levy did the time before when her boyfriend refused to go with her and she then took her daughter.
  • The annual poker tournament is 02/16/07 at La Strada at 6:00 PM.
  • Jon Lawlis passed around a donation sheet for the Richmond Art center most people signed up when I saw it pass by me.


  • Troy donated $20 to acknowledge the birth of his third child, “Preston Laura Pewitt”, and then he got the card of course.
  • Judy K. contributed her entire winnings on the Reno trip $.50. 
  • Jon Lawlis, the Man, donated $20 happy dollars because he and Nick had such a good time on the Reno train trip.

Many others: Margaret Markowski, Bob Dabney, Hank Covell, Herb Cole, Sid Chauvin and others apparently had a very good time on the train trip this year as indicated by their donations and their vociferous speeches.  I (Mark Howe) was sailing in the CYC midwinters and had just as good a time. 


The Program

Christoph Sanger, Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar

Funded by Paul Harris Contributions to the Foundation

Things are not as they seem says this 25-year-old accomplished German student with a thick accent.  “Today I was behind a large truck carrying alfalfa when I was driving here from Davis.  Suddenly a large piece of alfalfa fell off the truck and I swerved to avoid it and spilled some very hot coffee on my suit” he said plaintively.   “I was feeling angry and frustrated and pulled over into the next lane and tried to clean the coffee from my suit, when I glanced over at the truck to see two or three large bales of alfalfa fall from the truck into the lane I had just been in.  Wow I sure was lucky to be drinking hot coffee today I thought!”

Christoph is a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar who is studying Agricultural Economics at UC Davis, my alma mater.  He is particularly interested in how communal farming differs from modern private sector farming with respect to efficiency and practices.  To study in depth this subject he visited this summer a communal farm in Siberia where a community of Germans during the war had been moved and where many of them still spoke German so he could communicate with them.

Christoph showed pictures of his trip and the Siberian countryside and their farming practices today, which are still communal even though the Soviet Union no longer exists.  

He concluded, as one might expect, that the productivity on the communal farms was inferior to what you would find in the private sector because of a lack of capital to buy modern farming equipment and modern fertilizers. The lack of a profit motive and an inability to realize individual efforts also contributed to the inefficiency of the remaining communes.

Your Rotating Scribe, Mark Howe