The Flywheel

Our Next Meeting, APRIL 2nd

Celebrating 90 Years of Richmond Rotary
dna molecule

To help us celebrate our 90th birthday, we've invited Cliff Dochterman, Rotary International Past President. Cliff will enrich the meeting with his stories of Rotary's work around the world, powerful reminders of our common humanity.

"[From space] you see a singleness and unity to it all that we never perceive in the press of daily life. ...such a vivid unity that surely it must be rooted in some reality, and you wonder why this unity isn't more the reality of everyday human life on earth."
—Kathryn Sullivan, astronaut


Last Meeting: March 26th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Richmond Rotary President Glenn Daggs welcomed everyone to the club.  He asked Bob Dabney to lead the Pledge and, since Stoney had not yet arrived, President Glenn himself asked for a moment of silence for peace, freedom and justice in the world.  Henry Kelman’s thought for the day was, “It’s a lovely day.”

Visiting Rotarians

Visiting Rotarians included Mac Lingo from Berkeley and Doreen Covell from Pinole.

Rotarians with Guests

Jan Brown had as her guest her husband Byron, and Hank Covell introduced his guest who also happened to be the above mentioned Pinole Rotarian.


  • Jan Brown announced that she and Wanda Harris will once again be preparing CARE packages for young mothers which will this year include teddy bears.
  • Richmond Rotary’s 90th anniversary will be celebrated on April 2 with Past RI President Cliff Dochterman as speaker.  When President Glenn asked Don Hardison about his tenure in the club, Don stated that it is some 55+ years.


Past President Don Lau led the recognitions:

  • Alan Blavins celebrated a birthday.
  • Don Hardison celebrated a birthday with family at the Baltic.  He mentioned that the reopened restaurant does not yet have a liquor license.
  • Richard Alexander celebrated a 14th wedding anniversary with his wife Katherine, a former member of our club.
  • Henry Kelman and wife Kathleen celebrated their 25th anniversary.
  • And E.J. Shalaby and spouse Jeannine had their 8th anniversary.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Past President Herb Cole was happy to have devoted the previous week to Rotary activities; starting with the much praised St. Pat’s dinner at Hs. Lordship’s, a board meeting the following day, and the precedent-breaking “Man Shower” last Saturday at President-Elect Alan Baer’s house. Herb had high praise for Santa’s barbecued ribs.
  • Ted Abreu was happy to be going to France for six weeks.
  • Jan Brown was happy about father Don Hardison’s birthday, about a trip to spring training in Arizona, and Byron’s impending retirement.
  • Rafael Madrigal had praise for the food at the shower.
  • Treasurer David Brown expressed sadness at the passing of Jim Ingram, former Richmond Police Department officer
  • Henry Moe was happy about the survey regarding Salesian high school he distributed early in the meeting.
  • Hank Covell was happy about recent cruise of the Mexican coast with Doreen and other family members.
  • Past President Erle Brown was happy about wife Phyllis’ knee replacement, but regretted that he would have to now run faster to keep up with her.
  • Rhonda Harris was happy about the reading program at Nystrom.
  • And Glenn Daggs had happy dollars because of Saint Mary’s College, his alma mater, being in the March Madness. He concluded with a sad dollar regarding the passing of Jim Ingram his one time RPD colleague.

Norm's Nonsense

An elderly couple passed away at about the same time and went to heaven. St. Peter met them and showed them their fancy house and said that all of their needs would be provided for. Since they liked to play golf together he showed them a beautiful golf course and told them they could play there any time they wanted.
The husband turned to the wife and said; "If you hadn't insisted we eat all that fiber for so long we could have been here at least ten years ago."

Raffle Results

There was no raffle pending a decision on how to deal with the latest reporting requirements imposed by the California Attorney General.



dna moleculeMichael Gill introduced the guest speaker, John Tonkyn, Ph.D., Director of the Missing Persons DNA Program for the California Department of Justice at its Richmond Laboratory. Michael also introduced John’s mother and wife who were guests of the club.

Dr. Tonkyn began by describing the programs at the lab:

  • A convicted felon DNA base. Since the passage of Prop. 69 in 2004 anyone arrested for a felony has a DNA sample added to the data base. The lab has 1.4 million DNA profiles on file, and can access other agencies profiles—a total of 7 million nationwide.
  • Criminal case work.
  • A fast-track forensic program which, for example, provides a rapid turnaround in rape cases.
  • Post conviction testing.
  • Method development and training. He pointed out that the technology has improved over time, requiring ever smaller samples derived from sometimes unusual sources.

He went on to explain that DNA is the genetic basis for diversity.  99.9% of DNA is the same for everyone.  The 1% is what differentiates us all from one another. DNA testing is generally accepted by the legal profession with labs being accredited by the FBI which keeps a national DNA data base.
The DOJ lab in Richmond processes 25,000 samples a month. To date, 250 persons have been exonerated due to DNA testing.  Dr. Tonkyn is mostly involved with missing persons cases,
and he explained how Laci Peterson and her unborn child were identified and how the paternity of Jaycee Dugard’s children was established.

Throughout his talk, Dr. Tonkyn contrasted what happens in his lab with what we see on the various CSI shows. If anything, the reality is more fascinating than fiction.

- Rotating Editor, Ted Abreu