The Flywheel

Next Meeting: July 30th

Sink Hole

Erika James of Full Circle Insurance discuses the six changes that are taking place Sept. 23rd including, small business tax credits, eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions and more.

Last Meeting: July 23rd

Welcome, Invocation, Thought of the Day

Club President Alan Baer rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Past President George Egan led the Pledge of Allegiance. Stoney called for a moment of silent prayer for freedom, peace, and justice on Earth.

Visiting Rotarians

None this week

Rotarians With Guests

Nabil Wahbeh’s guests were brothers Alex Lau and Phillip Lau. Henry Kelman’s guest was his daughter Caroline Kelman. Guest Phillip Lau asked about Rotary’s cornerstone for all interactions, the 4-Way Test. Past President Glenn Daggs replied with description of the 4-Way Test.


  • Alan Baer updated Rotarians on the Oakland A’s game scheduled for Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Although the game starts at 7:00 p.m., Alan said, the “tailgate” starts an hour earlier at 6:00 p.m. He is going to distribute tickets next week. A couple of tickets remain available for Richmond Rotarians. Please bring money to next week’s meeting in order to purchase your tickets.
  • David Brown reminded Rotarians that their Rotary dues fee of $200 for 2010 -2011 is due. He said that members could enjoy “huge savings” ($0.44) by handing their check to him at the next meeting. He also noted that they could make their donation of $100.00 for the Foundation at the same time, which may double their postage savings!


James Beaver presented the recognitions of his fellow Rotarians. Henry Kelman celebrated his 60th birthday. President Alan Baer celebrated his 19th anniversary. His donation of $100.00 was made to the The Werner Schwarz Memorial Fund.

Happy and Sad Dollars

James Beaver directed our happy and sad dollar announcements. The Beav offered his happy dollars because Cory Lawrence was back!

  • Monique le Conge gave sad dollars because she could not stay for the “Sinkhole” presentation. However, she offered happy dollars because she is leaving for Oregon. Monique also mentioned that she had resigned from her position with the City of Richmond
  • Donald Hardison gave happy dollars in honor of Monique le Conge. He said he read her plan for the City of Richmond and was very impressed
  • Henry “Hank” Covell had very happy dollars because his granddaughter graduated with honors from high school and will going to the University of Arizona. He also had happy dollars for his 13-year-old grandson who became a certified scuba diver.
  • George Egan gave happy dollars for being able to pass out flyers to fellow Rotarians to notify them about West Nile Virus.

Norm's Nonsense

-When I pass on I want it to be like my uncle Charlie, with a smile on my face and at peace with the world. Not yelling and screaming like the people in his car.

-If the black box survives a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff?


The Story of the Sinkhole


Chad Davisson, Wastewater Project Manager, and Tawfic Halaby, Associate Civil Engineer for the City of Richmond., presented “The Story of the Sinkhole.”

Overview of the Via Verdi sinkhole A portion of Via Verdi collapsed without warning into a sinkhole on April 15th in the evening. The roadway collapsed on the corrugated culvert section of San Pablo Creek beneath Via Verdi near the intersection of El Portal Drive. The sinkhole was approximately 120 feet long, 40 feet wide and 30 feet deep. Mssrs. Davisson and Halaby reported that there were no signs of a sinkhole developing prior to April 15th. The sinkhole swallowed a number of cars and prevented use of Via Verdi, which provides the only road access to the Sobrante Glen Neighborhood. The neighborhood includes 85 single-family houses and 10 apartment units. Sobrante Glen residents had to wait several hours before they could return home. The presenters said that this sinkhole was the largest single incident of infrastructure damage the City of Richmond had ever encountered. This incident required an “integrated City response.” The first step was to build a temporary one-lane bridge to allow residents to have road access in and out of their neighborhood.

Next steps
City engineers still must determine the underlying causes of the sinkhole before rebuilding the Via Verdi roadway. This work requires forensic analysis as there may multiple factors involved. In the meantime, the City has come to an agreement with Rolling Hills Cemetery to construct an emergency bypass road. The City has agreed to restore the Cemetery to its original state when Via Verdi is back in operation. However, during construction and use of the bypass road, the City must do everything possible to safeguard the residents of the Cemetery. Rotarians took this opportunity during the presentation to enjoy some graveyard humor. In any case, the presenters noted, if the City did not meet its obligations, a reserve fund of $250,000 would be used to restore the Cemetery to its original condition. Mssrs. Davisson and Halaby said they were confident that the City would fulfill its agreement with Rolling Hills Cemetery. The presenters noted that the emergency bypass road will pass through the Cemetery which is bordered by El Portal Drive, Via Verdi, and the north-bound I-80 on-ramp. This road will have two lanes of traffic, a three-way stop on El Portal Drive, temporary street lights, and a four-foot wide pedestrian walk-way that will be separated by bollards. The path will also include accessible curb ramps on el Portal Drive and on Via Verdi. The construction cost of the emergency bypass road is estimated at $253,000. The presenters also described additional challenges as the City starts its restoration work on Via Verdi. One of the challenges is determining whether the 300 feet of remaining corrugated culvert remains in good condition. It was installed 35 years ago. The total restoration cost of Via Verdi is going to be approximately $3,000.000, the presenters said. However if the engineers find that the remaining 300 feet of culvert needs to be replaced, the total cost could double. For more information on the sinkhole or the Via Verdi restoration, you can contact Chad Davisson at or Tawfic Halaby at Alan thanked Chad and Tawfic for their presentation.

– Yvonne Nair, rotating scribe