The Flywheel

Program for DECEMBER 5, 2008

Powerful Non-Defensive Communication

Rotary member providing health services in India

Sharon Ellison is author of the book, “Taking the War Out of Our Words”, which offers a coherent communication model and practical skills for eliminating defensiveness, liberating honesty, building integrity, and inspiring compassion at home, at work, and in the community.



MEETING OF November 21st, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

This week we were back at Mira Vista.  President Mark Howe called the meeting to order and asked Sid Chauvin to provided our Joke for the Week.   As you may remember, Sid provided a great “Blond on the Bus” Joke about a month ago and this week, Sid continued the “Saga.”  This is turning out to be a great series of jokes.

Visiting Rotarians

Stan Smallie, the District Chairman for the Paul Harris Foundation and Brad Howard, our guest speaker.  

Rotarians with Guests

Erle Brown’s guest was his wife Phyllis, Hank Covell’s guest was Father Ralph Murphy, one of our past members and Rafael Madrigal’s guest was Bob Connelly, Manager of the Point Richmond Office of the Mechanics Bank.


  • Sid Chauvin announced that the Reno Train Trip will take place on January 25-26, 2009.  Money is due NOW or as soon as possible.   Call Sid for reservations. (510) 222-7665
  • Don Lau reminded everyone that our Annual Auction will be Friday, December 12, 2008 in the large room at the Mira Vista Country Club.  Items will include Don Hardison and Jan Brown’s Richmond Rotarian Tour, Rotary members Pictures from the 1920s, dinners, parties, etc.  We will also have the 1979 un-opened bottle of Muscatel which has brought in more than $10,000 dollars during its 32 year tradition/appearance at the auction.  Jan Brown also announced a new tradition to compliment the “don’t drink the Muscatel.” The new item consists of a great bottle of spirits in a specialty box…the group or person with the winning bid gets to drink that bottle, have their name placed on the box for posterity and then replaces the bottle in the box it with another.  This is a great way to have your name go down in the annals of Rotary. Please remember to invite your family and friends to this fun, fun raising auction event. 
  • Mark and Alan Baer invited everyone to the December 19th Holiday Party at the Mira Vista Country Club.  Bar opens at 5:30 pm with dinner at 6:30 pm.  Please call Alan at 235-8013 for reservations. Cost is $65 per person which includes 3 bottles of wine per table.  We will be “partying” with the El Cerrito Club.  It should be great fun
  • Josh Surowitz announced that a whole group of Rotarians, filled up Mark’s truck with food earlier this week and delivered it to our fellow Rotarian Captain Frank Besplancke of the Salvation Army here in West County.  Way-to-go for the Thanksgiving Season and all year long.  Check with Josh and Mark if you would like to be part of the “action” on their next run.  

Special Events

Stan Smallie, District Chairman of the Paul Harris Foundation congratulated our club for reaching this year, the goal of 10% of club membership contributing $1,000 each to the foundation.  Those who continued their contribution from last year include Jon Lawlis, Mark Howe, Josh Genser, Glenn Daggs, George Egan, Ralph Hill, Alan Baer, Werner Schultz, Herb Cole, Erle Brown, and Dave Calfee. Stan was also very pleased welcome three additional club members to this group. Congratulations and thank you go to Ted Abreu, David Brown and Stoney Stonework.   Stan also thanked Erle Brown, our club’s Foundation Chair, for his wonderful efforts to make our club the only club in the District to meet the 10% goal.  Our the members joined in the “Thank You” with a standing ovation.


Laura Kuhn made a nice donation to the club in celebration of her Birthday which will be tomorrow.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jim Young had sad dollars because the market is so bad and some happy dollars because it stabilized.  What has happened since then????
  • Dan Tanika had happy dollars because the San Francisco Rotary Club #2 is celebrating its 100 club anniversary on November 12.  Dan is very well informed on this issue since his wife is a member of SF Club #2. 
  • Ren Partridge had some happy dollars because he is back after he suffered a concussion during a bicycle accident.  He was also glad he was on his bike and not his motorcycle when he fell.
  • George Egan had some happy dollars because he, like John McCain, sleeps like a baby.  Because of the market, George sleeps 2 hours, wakes-up and cries, falls asleep and then wakes-up 2 hours later, cries and falls back to sleep, etc.
  • Jan Brown had some great happy dollars because her Dad, Don Hardison, was at luncheon today with his classmates from CAL who were preparing for the “Big Game” with Stanford for their 70th year.
  • Josh Genser used his happy dollars to comment on the “weenies” from CAL.
  • In response, Erle Brown said CAL would get the axe back this year.
  • Rafael Madrigal’s happy dollars were summed up in 2 words…. “Go Bears.”
  • Paul Allen of Regrid Power Solar Systems had some happy dollars to celebrate his company’s business merger (growth is good) and some sad dollars because the price of gas is falling.
  • Jon Lawlis’ happy dollars welcomed Stan Smallie and Brad Howard… said if you ever want to take a great “tour,” go with Brad Howard. 
  • Ralph Hill’s happy dollars also went to thank Erle Brown for the success of the Paul Harris Foundation in our club.   

Raffle Results

John Nichol won the Raffle.  Many of us loudly questioned this result since John had door duty and he was in charge of writing everyone’s name on the Raffle tickets. John’s “luck” provided him with a white ball.

Norm's Nonsense

Show me a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and I will show you a man with a crazy transplant doctor.



Rotary Foundation

Salesian High School

Brad Howard of the Rotary Foundation was our speaker for the day.  After a few fun comments including some about the “Big Game” Brad reminded us that Rotary is based on Fellowship and Service.  With a series of slides Brad showed us just a few of the valuable and rewarding results that contributions to the Paul Harris Foundation fund achieve.  He showed us how Service that Rotarian’s provide locally not only  leads to Fellowship within the club, but illustrated how International Service also leads to Fellowship with Rotarians in other countries and with Fellowship with those were Serve. 

For example, the Polio Plus program which began in 1985 when Rotary began our partnership with the World Health Organization, CDC and the United Nations.  In 1985 there were more than 350,000 cases of polio reported in 122 nations.  By 2007 there were approximately 1,400 cases reported in 4 counties.  Brad through his slides, showed us how his son, aged 8 and daughter aged 10, distributed vaccine to little babies in Guyana.  He introduced us to a Rotarian who had a “dream” of opening a clinic in the country side and needed $50,000… After 3 days, Brad had to say “yes” to the man… and within a year Brad and his club of 25 members partnered their $4,000 with other clubs, combined contributions and matching funds from the Foundation “into” the what became the first “Clinic.”  Foundation Funds are also used as matching funds for local projects with 2/3s of the fund returning to each local club based a 3 year prior period formula.   This means that part of the funds you donate this year will come back to us for our club’s projects in 2011.  It was a very inspiring presentation. 

By the way, Brad’s preliminary comments included a couple of great stories about traveling with some of our club members… next time we have a “Roast” we are inviting Brad.      

— Rotating Editor, Margaret S. Morkowski