The Flywheel

This Week's Program: MAY 1, 2009

Kepler Mission probe

The Kepler Mission

Alan Gould of the Lawrence Hall of Science visits Richmond Rotary to discuss the Kepler Project and its efforts to identify ‘Earth-type’ planets circling other stars.

Last week's MEETING: April 24TH, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Richmond Rotary President Mark Howe called the meeting to order and asked for a volunteer to lead the Pledge to the Flag. Past President John Nicol responded with a spirited rendition. Past President Horace “Stoney” Stonework offered a joke for the day: What did the fish say when it ran into a wall? Dam!

Rotarians with Guests

Markku Pellane introduced his guest Jerry Gager, a highway engineer. Enos Johnson introduced his wife Brenda. And Eric Gravidia presented Declan Spring, a local realtor.


Past President Joe Bagley, assisted by Rafael Madrigal and Alan Baer announced plans for the Cinco de Mayo events on Saturday and Sunday, May 2 & 3. On Sunday, the club will be operating a hotdog booth.  Joe Bags passed around a flyer picturing a genuine Chicago hotdog in all its glory. Rotarians are needed to sell construct and sell hotdogs. There was also a discussion regarding needed equipment. The booth will be located on the west side of 23rd Street between Garvin and Clinton. Alan Baer asked for Rotarians to sign up for Saturday’s parade.


Community members of all ages celebrated Earth Day through cooperation and neighborliness at the Peace Garden. Photographs by Jan Brown.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jan Brown was happy about the mural project at the Peace Garden. And what's more, the community is very happy about the Peace Garden itself, as evidenced by the great turnout for Earth Day, April 25th.
  • Ted Abreu was happy to learn that his daughter Lauren will be working on an MBA courtesy of her employer. He was also happy, to have observed the number of WCCUSD seniors applying for  scholarships from the Retired Richmond Educators who were Interact Club members at their respective high schools—El Cerrito, Pinole Valley, and Hercules. These students participated in all kinds of service activities, including fund raising for school, community and Rotary projects and assisting Rotarians in their activities.
  • Rafael Madrigal was happy to announce that Josh Genser and Margaret Morkowski were the winners of the Rotary poker night the previous Friday.
  • Past President Herb Cole had twenty happy dollars because Past President David Brown lost at poker.
  • And President Mark was delighted that one of his fellow sailors made a proposal of marriage to his girlfriend as they rounded the Farralones.


Norm’s Nonsense

An elderly man with a hearing problem suddenly lost his hearing completely.  Concerned he went to the doctor, who looked in his ear, picked up a pair of forceps, and extracted a suppository.
"Here's the trouble," the doctor announced, showing it to him.
The old man replied, "Now I know what I did with my hearing aid."

Raffle Results

Dan Sanders drew and orange ball and won about 25¢.  Spend it wisely Dan.


East Bay MUD, the Delta Levees & the Peripheral Canal II

Jim Young introduced our speaker for the day, Doug Wallace, from the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Doug’s topic was Decisions in the Delta: Water Supply at Risk. The delta watershed covers 40% of California, and 2/3 of all Californians receive delta water. One of his slides, a map of the delta and surrounding areas showed a nightmarish tangle of waterways, both natural and man-made, and roads, rail lines, and pipelines. All of these create problems and enormously complicate any solutions for solving the coming water crisis. A partial list of contributing factors and problems includes—

  • Subsidence (the Mokelumne aquaducts are below sea level)
  • Earthquake faults
  • Urbanization
  • Invasive species
  • Endangered Species Act requirements
  • Flood threats
  • Rising sea level

California’s strategic plan includes conservation, reduction of delta suppliers, court ordered reductions, and legislative action, including bonds, for infrastructure maintenance and repair and for new construction, e.g., the peripheral canal which is once more under discussion.

Joe Bagley asked who has the ultimate say in water decisions.  Doug replied, “the courts.” Joe also asked about desalinization plants using nuclear power.  Doug mentioned other possibilities as well, some of which are already in use or being considered—injection of water into aquifers, direct potable reuse, irradication of crops, such as cotton, which use excessive amounts of water, and even revival of the Reeber plan which would dam the delta at the Carquinez Strait, preventing loss of fresh water and intrusion of salt water.  All in all, a very scary scenario.

- Scribo Veritas. - Ted Abreu