The Flywheel

Our Next Meeting: This Wednesday at 6PM- 9:30 PM

I-80 Rotary Clubs meet on St Patrick's Day

The regular Friday meeting shifts to Hs Lordship’s Restaurant in Berkeley, as the Berkeley Club hosts all the I-80 clubs for a St. Patrick's Day mixer, starting at 6PM. Green beer, corned beef, cabbage, and camaraderie. More info on flyer.

Repeating: this meeting substitutes for our regular meeting. Don't go to the Mira Vista Country Club on Friday (unless you seek solitude).


Last Meeting: March 12th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Richmond Rotary President Glenn Daggs welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced himself.  Mark Grushayev led the pledge, and Past President Horace (Stoney) Stonework asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice in the world and for PDG Werner Schwarz who has suffered a heart attack.  Past President Herb Cole had these words of wisdom: “Friends may come and go, but enemies will accumulate.”

Visiting Rotarians

There were no visiting Rotarians, but there was a surprise guest.  (More about that below.)

Rotarians with Guests

Josh Genser, after some confusion about who exactly he was, introduced guest Richard (Phil) Philbrook, a business consultant.


President Glenn introduced President-Elect Alan Baer, newly returned from PETS, who information about up-coming events:

  • The St. Patrick’s Day Mixer at Hs Lordships in Berkeley from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. This event for all the clubs in the I-80 corridor is in lieu of the usual Friday meeting.
  • The Man Shower on Saturday, March 20, for expectant fathers Bill Koziol and Josh Surowitz at Alan Baer’s house from 2:00 p.m. on.
  • District Assembly April 17 at Solano Community College
  • Our own 90th birthday celebration on April 2 with Past RI President Cliff Dochterman as speaker.


Past President Don Lau stepping to the podium recognized Yvonne Nair who celebrated a birthday on March 1 with a visit to a Korean spa and a family dinner.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Michael Gill was happy to note that speaker Noah Alper was accompanied by his wife Hope.
  • Josh Genser had happy dollars about the up-coming Rotary Bowlathon on April 1 and succeeded in recruiting some volunteers for the Richmond team.
  • Past President Don Hardison had sad dollars on the passing of his successor as Rotary President (1987-88), William Shields.
  • Past President Tom Butt had happy dollars regarding funding for the rehabilitation of the Maritime Childcare Center. He also noted that the club has members who are running for city office in the next election.
  • Mark Grushayev was happy about his second anniversary as a member of Richmond Rotary.
  • Past President and connoisseur Erle Brown was pleased about the good time he had at Josh Genser’s scotch tasting party.
  • Jim Young had happy or sad dollars that I could not decipher in my notes.
  • Eric Gravidia was happy that he will be the daddy of a baby boy in May.
  • Past President and Current Club Secretary Jon Lawlis had sad dollars regarding the recent earthquake in Chile. He challenged members to chip in to do something for the Chileans as we did for Haiti. He contributed $200 to get the ball rolling, and George Egan and Erle Brown responded with donations. Club Treasurer David Brown suggested that the balance remaining after a shelter box was purchased for Haiti be put toward purchasing one for Chile.

Norm's Nonsense

St Paddy's Day is on its way...

- Old Irish Proverb: Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord— and it makes you miss him.

- How many Irishmen does it take to change a lightbulb? Fifteen. One to hold the bulb and fourteen to drink whiskey until the room starts spinning.


Law Enforcement in Contra Costa County

bagelsMichael Gill introduced the day’s speaker, Noah Alper, founder of Noah’s Bagels and Bread and Circus and author of Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur. Mr. Alper described the path that led to the founding of Noah’s at College and Alcatraz Avenues in Berkeley in 1989 with an investment of $150 thousand and ended six years later with the sale of thirty-eight stores for $100 million. On the way to this culminating event, he experienced a secular Jewish and communist upbringing, spent time in a mental institution, sold goods out of a VW van and from a blanket on the sidewalk, and started up six businesses--four of which were successful. Noah also described some of the business values that he feels contributed to his success. These include being aware of trends (natural foods, gourmet industry), involving employees in community service and thereby encouraging esprit de corps, and doing the right thing not just because it feels good but because it is good business.  He referred to the Rotary Four-Way Test as being in sync with his values.

During the subsequent question and answer session he was asked about bagel production methods, i.e., soaked or steamed?  He said that traditional New York bagels are soaked and then baked, making a very hard crust with a chewy center, but turning to rock in a few hours.  Noah’s bagels are first steamed and then baked very dark, producing a more durable but equally palatable product.

Towards the end of the meeting a small drama ensued involving a stranger who, we learned later stalks Mr. Alper’s presentations and voices grievances about required overtime situations at Noah’s. President Glenn, adroitly using his security skills, tactfully and firmly deflected the interloper’s diatribe and brought the meeting to a conclusion.

- Ted Scribonius, Rotating Scribe