The Flywheel

Program for October 31st, 2008
We meet at Winehaven, Point Molate

Ghosts of Winehaven

Winehaven landscape

This Friday we meet at Winehaven, in Point Molate. You'll hear and see the history of Winehaven, enjoy a scrumptious lunch prepared by Marsha Tomassi, and tour the Winehaven Building and the Wine Master's Cottage.

The wine auction offers a chance to get great wines and historical artifcats at great prices, so bring your checkbooks. Details and tickets.

Ghosts of Winehaven is a major fundraiser for the Richmond Rotary Peace Project, dedicated to reducing violence in our city. Your attendance (and participation in the demanding but highly rewarding wine auction) helps create opportunities for young adults in Richmond—and that makes a difference. Please be sure to come.

Need a map?


MEETING OF October 24th, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Mark Howe called the meeting to order with vigorous ringing of the bell.  Leigh Johnson led us in the Pledge to the Flag.  Past President Horace “Stoney” Stonework provided a joke for the day, a classic shaggy dog story with an important economic lesson.

Visiting Rotarians

  • Neil Wells of El Cerrito Rotary joined us for lunch.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Jan Brown introduced her guest Cheryl Maier, Director of Opportunity West, who was accompanied by Tequila Starks, an Opportunity West participant.
  • Past Presient Don Lau presented Carole Souza his assistant.
  • Henry Kelman had as his guest his son Benjamin.


  • Nick Despota summarized the components of the Richmond Rotary Peace Project. To reinforce the ideas presented in weekly "transformational workshops", Opportunity West will open its doors to young adults on Saturdays during the months that the Positive Minds Group (PMG) workshops are being offered.
    Nick asked members to volunteer to help out one Saturday a month, to work with young adults on computer skills, field trips to local businesses, cooking and more. Members who are interested should attend an Information Night, Thursday, November 6, 5-6 PM.
  • Nick introduced Tequila Starks, a young woman who participated in this workshop. Ms. Starks took a few minutes to describd the impact PMG has had on her life. She is now an employee of Opportunity West.
  • Mark announced signing of a memorandum of understanding with Opportunity West in the amount of $40,000 for the Peace Project. Margaret Morkowski, Jan Brown, Lillian Koziol and Marsha Tomassi put their heads together to publicize the Ghosts of Winehaven event, a major fundraiser for the Project. Their efforts included getting the West County Times' Chris Treadway to author a terrific article for the newspaper. Have a look.
  • The Club made a donation in the memory of Richmond Police Office Brad Moody, who died in a car accident while on duty on October 4th.
  • Letters from Peres Elementary teachers were passed around. They expressed thanks for the classroom support in the amount of $100 dollars pledged by Richmond Rotary members.
  • The Club’s Paul Harris Society goal has been increased to $16,000.
  • Cheryl Maier announced that husband Bob Dabney is recovering from his recent surgery and misses alcohol and his fellow Rotarians.  (In which order?)
  • Ren Partridge, as announced last week, took a fall on his bike and is in need of moral support. Give him a call. He'd appreciate it.
  • The November 14 Rotary meeting will be at Salesian High School with the program presented by Father Nick Reina.
  • The Rotary Holiday Auction will take place on December 12, followed by our holiday party on December 13 at a location yet to be determined.
  • Treasurer David Brown announced that he had four tickets for a performance of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at Zellerbach Hall. In the ensuing auction Leslie Levy scored the tickets with a bid of $100. Thank you, David!
  • Michael Gill announced that he was donating some intriguing auction items for the Winehaven event.


  • Allen Baer self-reported his second-year Club anniversary.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Josh Genser had sad dollars about the fraudulent letter regarding Proposition T that one of our members had seen fit to distribute.
  • Joe Bagley was sad about the death of Bart Wallace.  He also had a check for the Rotary Foundation for both his birthday and for his and Rita’s anniversary.
  • Nick Despota had a happy thank you to Mark Howe and the Rotary Board for  funding the Peace Project.
  • Rafael Cartagena celebrated a birthday.
  • John Lawlis was happy about the China trip where among other sites he visited the world’s largest MacDonalds in Beijing

Raffle Results

Jim Young drew a white ball for a free lunch but no cigar.

Norm’s Nonsense

A learned professor was interviewing applicants to help him research material for a book he was going to author on scientific advances of the 20th century. The first applicant had an IQ of 160 so the professor said "You can help me with Technology."  The second applicant had an IQ of 170, so the professor said "You can help me with theories on the Universe." The third applicant said "I'm in the wrong place, my IQ is only 50."  The professor replied "That's alright, you can give me advice on the Stock Market."



The YMCA's contribution to life in the East Bay

YMCA kids

Jim Young introduced out own Past President Don Lau who gave a comprehensive view of the 90-year history, activities, and programs of the Richmond YMCA.  The “Y” story is one of gradual accumulation of sites, inclusion of other programs, and an ever-expanding array of services to the West County area and beyond.  There are now 47 sites operating in the area with 410 employees and an operating budget of 15.2 million dollars.  Financial support for the “Y” comes from membership (16%), contributions (3%), program resources (10%), and government grants (71%).

One of the more prominent feature of theses programs is the Hilltop Family YMCA opened in 1993 on land donated by Chevron.  A renovation program is now underway at this facility.

In addition to Hilltop, “Y” activities are spread throughout the community and include child development programs, community services center such as at Coronado and in Rodeo, after school programs, child care programs and activities related to youth and government and public health.

Don stated that future goals included continuing to work and cooperate with other agencies, integration of health and mental health services with children and families, developing a new generation of community leaders, and having fun.

- Rotating Editor, Ted Abreu