The Flywheel

This Week's Program: October 23th, 2009

The RInged Planet System


Michael Meltzer, an environmental scientist and science writer, has worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and currently works for NASA on the Cassini Mission.

Michael will discuss the current NASA mission to the “Ringed Planet System”



Last MEETING: October 16th, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Glenn Daggs launched today’s International Meeting as Richmond Rotary hosted the Rotary Group Service Exchange of fire fighters from Monterey Mexico District 4130.  The club was also ready to host the combined clubs from West County with seating for 80.  Too Bad they didn’t show up. Alan Baer lead the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance. Henry Kelman provided this observation and thought for the day: “When Ai was young I was a liberal. When I got older I got more conservative. Now that I am beyond older, and retiring I can tell you that ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’”

Visiting Rotarians

The Club greeted Don Farquharson from El Cerrito Rotary.

Rotarians with Guests

A very quiet and unassuming George Egan introduced his guest Yvonne Nair, of Saffron Strand. Saffron Strand is a non-profit organization that provides job training for homeless people.
Prez Glenn Daggs introduced his guest and possible future Richmond Rotarian Fire Captain Elizabeth De Dios.

Sunshine Report

Bill K was playing hooky, but Werner Schwarz announced that someone had moved to Bay Park.  Ask Werner, I’m not going to try and guess who..


  • Nick Despota encouraged the members to get their Ghosts of Shipyard III tickets early on the web as the $35 price goes to $50 at the door and we need to get an accurate count for food.  Yeah, it is pricy, but it is the fundraiser for the Rotary Peace Project as well as the best costume party in Richmond.
  • Sid ‘Cho Cho’ Chauvin said that the Reno Train Trip is on for January 24th & 25th . Talk to Sid for prices and details but know that this year the train is being operated by a hospitality provider and not AmTrack, it will be John Nicol’s 50th consecutive trip (if he goes) and that Rita Marino, the girl who wanted to, “…be in A mair EEK a!...” and lives in Berkeley will also be on the trip.  (Sid is taking personal responsibility for Rita’s presence.)
  • David Brown reminded everyone of the Peres Classroom Project, providing $100 for each teacher at Peres to help with the hundreds of dollars a year they spend on supplies out-of-pocket.

Special Events
We already talked about the Ghosts of Shipyard III, but do get your tickets on line, “click the button”. And remember the Holiday Auction is the first Friday in December, the 4th.


That always Chicago kinda guy Joe ‘Joey Bags’ Bagley did recognitions the Chicago way, by recognizing himself… and his lovely wife Rita who celebrated their wedding anniversary Sept. 27th and Joey’s B-day Oct. 3rd. Joey said this years celebration involved a trip to Best Buy to get what he always wanted, a new washing machine to replace the one that flooded their garage and brought he and Rita back to home and hearth from what was supposed to be a weekend in the country.  Ah, domestic bliss! Joe contributed $100 to his daughter’s Paul Harris anyway.
Joey also says for youz guyz who did not show up for recognitions this week, ”You better show up next week, if you know what I mean”.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Joey Bags had Happy $$ for something (I can’t read my own writing). He probably got a good deal on a 25 lb. box of detergent at Best Buy.
  • Herb Cole had Happy $$ to see Rolando Chavez, the leader of the GSE firefighter team from Monterey Mx. Herb’s wife Normie and Rolondo’s wife were school chums in Monterey growing up and reconnected at the Rotary Wheel Chair delivery project a couple of years ago.
  • Nick Despota had Happy $$ since his son has found a job with a firm that does video game design for mobile devices like iPhones and Blackberries.
  • David Brown had Happy $$ warning us that he is going to be in a video being produced by Mechanics Bank at his law office where he will be pretending to work.
  • Werner Schwarz had Happy $$ that Lea let him have and spend in celebration of his soon to be celebrated 82th B-day. (Did I get that right?)
  • Prez Glenn Daggs guest Elizabeth De Dios had Happy $$ for the opportunity to meet and work with the GSE Fire Fighters from Mexico.

Norm’s Nonsense

You are what you eat:

  If God wanted us to be vegetarians, why did He make animals out of meat?

  An Irishman's idea of a seven course meal is a six pack and a potato.

Raffle Results

We were so absorbed by the program offered by our friends from Monterey, Mexico, we forgot to do the raffle.



Welcoming friends from Monterey, Mexico

Rotarians of Monterey, Mexico

Pres Glenn introduced today’s primary speaker, the leader of the Rotary GSE Firefighter Team, Rolando Chavez, “…con muchos años de Experiencia Proveniente de San Nicolás de los Garza, y gran Amigo (He has many years of [Rotary]experience and comes from San Nicolás de los Garza, and a great friend.)”. Rolando recognized Herb and Normie and long standing ties and friendships between his District #4130 in northeastern Mexico and our District 5160. Rolando provided us with an overview of his district and the cities in it who have active Rotary including the truly international club in Matemoros/Brownsville that meets in a different country every other week. Rather than misspelling a whole bunch of Mexican place names your scribe commends you to the District 4130 website where you can find out more about Rolando’s district and practice your Spanish .

After Rolando’s overview each of the firefighter’s provided a brief introduction of themselves and their families and home cities. This was an ‘up close’ look aided by PowerPoint pictures showing the vibrant diversity of our guests homes and cities. We wish them safety on their dangerous jobs, continued success  in the protection of life and property from wild fire and that they will all become Rotarians so they can extend their service beyond public safety.

Some factoids gleaned from the presentation:

  • “GSE”, Group Study Exchange is sponsored by Rotary International around the world and is used to transfer business and technical information between professions.  You all remember the bakers and dentists and architects, Russians, who visited us in the past. The Mexican firefighters spent the month visiting fire stations up and down the district including here in Richmond. There will be a GSE team of firefighters going from California to District 4130 to study with the Mexican firefighters. One of the guest firefighters commented that California firefighters have the best equipment and technology. Without the same technology, Mexican firefighters have learned to improvise solutions, something they hope to pass along to their California colleagues. (And that is something that has to be useful when the technology doesn’t work.).
  • District 4130 is the home of Rotary International Past President Dr. Carlos Cansecos, 1984-85, who launched Rotary’s international drive to eliminate polio, Polio Plus. Hopefully we here in Richmond will continue Dr. Canseco’s legacy, following his visionary leadership to the full eradication of polio form the face of the Earth. Four countries to go. Dr. Cansecos was also fondly remembered by PDG Werner Schwarz.
  • The current population of Mexico is 100,000,000.

A Dios, Rotary in Mexico.

- Rotating Scribe, Jim Young