The Flywheel

This Week's Program: November 20th, 2009

Sweeter dreams

Glenn Oclassen

Glenn Oclassen, CEO & President of Transcept Pharmaceuticals, describes his company and the work they are doing in Richmond to promote sound sleep.




Last MEETING: November 13th, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Glenn Daggs opened the meeting and asked Jerry Feagley to lead the “Pledge to the Flag.” Past President Herb Cole asked the members for a moment of silence for peace and freedom in the world.   And, Henry Kelman, in his thought for the day, reminisced about the inclusion of women in Rotary—the controversy and apprehension that preceded it and the positive benefits that resulted.

Visiting Rotarians

Visiting Rotarians included Past District Governor Jim Campbell with wife Linda, Assistant District Governor Gary Boyles, El Cerrito Rotary President Tracy Giles, and David Englehart from the Orinda Rotary Club.

Rotarians with Guests

Henry Moe had as his guests Janet Wilkes and John Castro, both members of the Salesian High School faculty.


  • President-Elect Alan Baer encouraged sign-ups for the Rotary holiday party at H’s Lordship’s on December 19.
  • Sid Chauvin promoted the Reno Intercity train excursion on January 24/25, 2010.
  • Club Treasurer David Brown thanked the members who contributed $100 each to assist teachers with out-of-pocket classroom expenses at Peres Elementary School.
  • April Jordan thanked those members who signed up to read to students at Peres next Wednesday and encouraged other members to participate.
  • Past President Mark Howe announced a sail on his boat this coming Sunday for those who purchased the privilege at last year’s auction.
  • Tracy Giles had an announcement about Foundation Day at the Races at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, December 5. A race will be named in honor of our Club if at least eleven members sign up. The cost is $32 per person which includes valet parking, Turf Club seating and a prime rib buffet. The track will donate 10% of Rotary ticket sales to the Rotary International Foundation.
  • Past Presidents Don Lau and Jim Beaver promoted participation at the annual Holiday Auction on December 4. This auction succeeds only when everyone participates. Contact Don today with your auction item description!

Special Events

  • PDG Jim Campbell commended Past President Erle Brown for his efforts as Club Foundation Chair and presented a certificate to President Glenn recognizing our clubs Foundation contributions to the tune of $222.18 per capita.
  • Club Secretary Jon Lawlis expressed thanks to Jim and Linda Campbell for the past contribution of hand-made bears to the Richmond Rotary Teen Moms program. He also called everyone’s attention to a new selection of bears which were displayed around the room.


Jim Beaver recognized Don Lau who celebrated a birthday while in New York City attending a Building Blocks for Kids conference. Don also mentioned that his father recently celebrated his ninety-third birthday.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Sid Chauvin appeared to be happy that there are 41 days until Christmas.
  • Jon Lawlis was happy about a “fabulous” night at Past President Leslie Levy’s.
  • Josh Genser expressed happiness about the state of college football in the Bay Area, which in turn provoked responses from Erle Brown and Herb Cole.
  • Past President George Egan was grateful for an impending or completed patent process.
  • Ted Abreu expressed pleasure at having attended a District 5160 Interact conference the previous Sunday at El Cerrito High School. 423 Interacters were present.

Norm’s Nonsense

A man and his ever-nagging wife were on vacation in Jerusalem, when the wife passed away. The undertaker told the husband, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000 or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150." The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home. The undertaker asked, "Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your wife home when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $150?" The man replied, "Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can't take that chance."

Raffle Results

Sid Chauvin drew a white ball.


The Shot Spotter

solar system

President Glen introduced the speaker for the day, Sergeant David Harris of the Richmond Police Department, who spoke about the Shot Spotter System now in place in parts of the city of Richmond. With the aid of a slide-show presentation, he described how this amazing technology works. Sensors distributed around the area are calibrated to recognize and pin point, through triangulation, the location of gun shots, enabling police dispatchers to direct officers to the scene. The system is advertised to have accuracy to about 25 meters, but in reality it is much more precise. The benefits of this technology, which is wireless, are numerous, including accelerated response to gun shots, increased likelihood of apprehending perpetrators, and quicker medical response for victims. Experience has shown that the system has also contributed to increased cooperation from citizens in providing descriptions and location of perpetrators. The technology also provides data which can assist in the prosecution of crimes. Sergeant Harris noted that there will be further expansion of the system into other “high crime” areas, but it is not intended for city-wide installation. 

--Scribonius, Rotating Scribe