The Flywheel

This Week's Program: MAY 22, 2009

Joy of Romance

Joy Nordenstrom helps guys become something more than the romantic Neanderthals they seem to be, both by nature and nurture. (No knuckle dragging before the meeting!)

Last week's MEETING: May 15, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

We welcomed, we invoked, and if there was a thought for the day, it wasn't recorded. But knowing what's really important, our scribe did write down the joke. Father Nick recycled an old favorite: The minister was giving his sermon, and he cried out, "I would pour all of my beer into the river for God's love." A few minutes later, reiterating his theme, he declared, "I would pour all of my wine into the river for God's love." Finally, he ended the sermon with "I would pour all of my liquor into the river for God's love." The choir director then directed the congregation to turn to hymn 375, "Shall We Gather at the River."


Rotarians with Guests

Lillian brought her daughter, Tina; Werner, his Princess-daughter, Donna;
Fr. Nick, officers from the Salesian High School Interact Club, Rita (President) and Christina (VP).

Herb introduced Barbara Baer and Brian Nicolson. Brian is with AFLAC (insert duck joke here), who stumbled upon our Rotary club while selling insurance to the Country Club.


Jan reminded everyone about making baskets for the Teen Moms next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Rhonda's office.

Who Am I?

Jovanka was born in Panama of African/Caribbean and Latina descent. At eight years old she was told they'd be moving to the USA, so she started learning to "Yank", or speak English with an American accent. When she was nine she moved to Queens, NY, only to discover that her Yankin' wasn't very good.

A year later, she switched from living with her father and step-mother to her mother and step-father and moved to an Air Force base in Missouri. The family was later transferred to Florida, where Jovanka attended High School. She excelled at sports, and was awarded a basketball scholarship to Florida A&M University, a historically African-American college.

In 1989, Jovanka moved to California, where she didn't like the weather, preferring heat and cold to moderation, although she's gotten used to it by now. In 1999 she married but divorced a year-and-a-half later. She is married now and works as a mental health worker. She has lived in Richmond since 2005, and has become very active in the community. She's "pumped" about being in Rotary, and we, Jovanka, are pumped to have you.

Special Events

Ted introduced our visitors from the Salesian High School Interact Club, who told us that their project this year was to raise money for prosthetic hands. By selling candygrams for Valentine's Day and based goods weekly, they raised $1,000, and presented a check to our Club, which we will match. The Interact Club also collecgted coats for the One Warm Coat program and Honey-Nut Cheerios for the food pantry.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Dan Sanders was very happy that his wife is recovering after being hit by a car while walking on Saturday. They spent 36 hours in the trauma center at HIghland Hospital, but she walked out of the hospital on her own power. Our very best wishes, Dan, for a complete recovery.
  • Rich Alexander was happy that his son has been admitted to the CA Maritime Academy, because he's more likely to be employable these days as a marine engineer than as a business major.
  • Jon was proud of the Salesian Interact Club. Herb was happy for the Chamber's Green is Gold Expo last night and Rotary's booth, and for the article in the newspaper about Don Hardison.
  • Don was also happy for the article, and he gave a lot of credit to Rotarians who, over the years, voted as members of publicly elected bodies to award contracts to his firm.
  • Mark G. was happy to practice his Yankin', and also announced that, in the spirit of recycling, the wastewater treatment plant he runs would adopt a new slogan, "Your Brown is Our Green."
  • Alan B. was happy that his Who Am I was postponed in the interests of time, so he gets a chance to put in some really funny jokes and stories, right Alan?
  • John N. was happy that Dan's wife seems to be OK.
  • Syd decided to fine everyone who was not wearing a Rotary pin or badge. Who gave him the authority? (His happy was other's sad.)
  • Herb was happy that David Brown was not present, so he can take all of the money raised today to party with.

Norm’s Nonsense

What this country needs is a good, old fashioned doctor who makes house calls.

- I put in a call to the urologist's office and said I wanted to talk to the doctor about an incontinence problem. The nurse asked me to hold.

- After giving his patient a thorough exam, the doctor said to him, "You've only got 6 months to live." Patient: "I would like to get a second opinion." Doctor: "Alright, you're ugly too."

Raffle Results

A white wall was pulled but the lucky loser-winner of a free lunch was not recorded.


Green? Gold? Hot? Cold?

compact fluourescent bulb

Prez Mark invited Jim Young to launch the “Green? Gold? Hot?  Cold?” program, a follow-up on the Chamber of Commerce successful “Green is Gold Expo” trade show held the previous evening in the Craneway at Ford Point.

Jim observed that there was a good representation of Rotarians at the well attended event. Rotarians were also instrumental in eight of the 70 exhibits, with a special ‘Hats Off” to Alan Baer for turning the Armor Locksmith display into a Richmond Rotary display and getting about 30 signups for participation in the Rotary Peace Project and Garden. Thank you, Alan.

Jim observed that there is also a good turnout for today’s program, even though our own Jerry Feagley, several members from the club and the Chamber Brain Trust were all at the County Small Business Symposium awarding Feagley Realtors, West County Small Business of the Year. Congratulations Jerry and Jan!

Aided by two of the club’s most legible printers, Jan Brown and Laura Kuhn, staffing the flip charts, Jim asked, “So what do you think? Was it Green? What was hot? What was not?”

The incredibly shy and withdrawn Herb Cole jumped out of his seat with the pronouncement that, “I don’t know if Galaxy Desserts is green or gold, but it sure was good!” Well said, Herb. And we will all be able to find out from Paul Levitan if it is green and/or gold when he visits Rotary later this summer to discuss Galaxy’s continuing success which includes one of the few successful IPOs of 2008.

So here is a synopsis of what the members thought about the Expo participants:

  1. Galaxy Desserts – Green ??, not sure.  Hot –definitely.
  2. Contra Costa Culinary Arts Program – Green, yes based on high quality food.
  3. West County Waste Water Agency – Green, very much.  Hot, yes, one of the biggest photovoltaic projects in the area.
  4. Hornblower Yachts – Green, maybe. Hornblower’s newest boat uses solar panels to augment its diesel-electric power system. The question was asked, “Do you believe that?”
  5. Richmond Children’s Foundation Food Production Program (Farm 2 Table)– very green, very hot, and maybe gold.  The food production program provides fresh vegetables  by subscription, grown organically and locally  AND  for a $10 monthly donation a poor Richmond family without access to fresh vegetables also receives an order. More info at
  6. Mona Vie – Green, maybe, but definitely cool if not outright cold. While the South American berry juice product is tasty, at $45/bottle it was given attributes historically attributed to the Fountain of Youth. It is sold via a multi-level marketing proram, more commonly known as a pyramid scheme.
  7. Excellent Packaging & Supply – They get a “G” for green effort.  However, it was noted that their green recyclable corn-plastic cups do not compost well as advertised, While they are biodegradable, it is only when measured in geologic time.
  8. Sims Metals – Long time green recycler who is definitely gold and HOT, if not as Hot as they were during the boom when the lined up recycling trucks blocked traffic on Cutting Blvd.
  9. Interactive Resources – Long time, award winning green recycler of historic & older building is hot as they leap into the green building movement.  We assume it is also gold as Tom’s checks don’t bounce.
  10. The Plunge (Natatorium) – The always being reborn Richmond Plunge is green and getting greener as solar electric and solar water heating are built into the “new” Plunge. It may not be hot, but the water will definitely be warm.
  11. 511.orgVery Green information available to everyone to avoid traffic congestion, save time and money, spare  the air, join a car pool, get a “Free Ride” home if you miss your car pool & etc. It should be hotter, so check it out at
  12. Real Goods Solar – Very Green, hot and we hope getting golder. Real Goods Solar is also extra friendly in the form of our own Paul Allen who with his several brothers and sisters in the Solar Industry at the Expo is ready to lighten your load on the grid. Paul did well putting a good face on the solar industry which could take up this whole program (& has), so check it out.
  13. Richmond Rotary Peace Project -  Very green community garden and worth all the gold and sweat that has gone into it if it points the young people of the Iron Triangle toward non-violent sustainable living. Also a big thank you again to Alan Baer of Armor Locksmiths who made the Rotary booth happen and who is dedicate to helping you keep both your green and gold in a ‘safe’ place.
  14. Veolia Water of North America – Not only very green, but the epitome of the out-of-the-box thinking that will need to be used by everyone to address the big picture environmental issues facing the 21sst Century. As stated by our own Mark Grushayev, Veolia Manager of the City’s waste water treatment plant, “Your brown is our green”, a reference to the methane fueled power system being installed at the treatment plant.

For all the participants that may feel slighted because they weren’t included here, hope to see you again next year, nothing personal, not enough space and time.

Brown to Green, Green to Gold, its time to reconsider what we are doing as we ‘go about business’.

- Josh Genser and Jim Young, two scribes rotating around each other