The Flywheel

Next Meeting: August 6th

Sink Hole

You may remember the Fire Fighters from Monterey, Mexico last year.

Fire Fighters Brandon Perry and Ed Duarte visit Richmond Rotary to describe their GSE trip to Mexico.

Last Meeting: July 30th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought of the Day

Club President Alan Baer rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Henry Kelman led the Pledge of Allegiance. Stoney called for a moment of silent prayer for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Henry Kelman offered his thought of the day with regards to our soldiers in Afghanistan.

Visiting Rotarians

Pat Todhunter from the El Cerrito Rotary Club was our visiting Rotarian.

Rotarians With Guests

Alan Baer’s guest was Jake Smith from Smith Office Solutions of Point Richmond.


  • Alan Baer updated Rotarians on the Oakland A’s game scheduled for Friday, August 6th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Just a reminder: The “tailgate” starts at 6:00 p.m. If you would like to bring a dish to pass, Alan encourages you to do so. Nine members and guests from the San Pablo Rotary plan to participate. Alan said all of the tickets are “spoken for.” However, if you want to attend, Alan said he still could “scalp” some tickets for you! For more information, please contact Alan.
  • Alan Baer announced that the Martinez Rotary Club has invited Richmond Rotarians to their event on August 19 at 7:00 p.m. which will feature Cliff Dochterman who was Rotary International President in 1992-1993. The evening event is a fundraiser -- tickets are an affordable $10.00. For more information, please contact Alan.
  • Pam Jones announced that Richmond Rotary received six awards at the July 10th District 5160 Awards Dinner. The categories of awards we received were Community Service, International Service, New Generations, Vocational Service, Rotary Foundation, and Literacy Project. For more information on these awards please contact Alan.


James Beaver presented the recognitions of his fellow Rotarians. Tom Waller celebrated his birthday. He said he is now officially now a “geezer,” with the happy result that he no longer need worry about “age barriers” in order to enjoy his senior privileges in restaurants and other places.

Happy and Sad Dollars

James Beaver extracted both dollars and pounds this week!

  • Nick Despota offered happy dollars for his enjoyable trip to Berlin. He visited the Internation Rotary Club (i.e., "Hier gesprochenen Englisch.") in Berlin. Nick also thanked Jan and Jonathan for filling in on Flywheel duties, and unlike the latter Rotarian, made a gift of U.S. currency to the Foundation.
  • Jonathan Lawlis gave happy Pounds Sterling to the Club: £5.00 for each country he visited during his summer vacation—£30.00 in toto. Jon also donated a few pounds to the Paul Harris Fund. Does that mean he's continuing to lose weight?
  • Joe Bagley had happy dollars for his daughter’s visit. Also, Joe showed off his new “do”— shortened hair, a sacrifice that may help him land a job. Joe also reported that he called Lea Schwartz to let her know that he was thinking of her during her difficult time.
  • Earl Brown had happy dollars for the successful knee replacement of a family member who is doing very well.
  • Guest speaker, Erika James gave happy dollars because she was invited back!

Norm's Nonsense

Quotes on golf from Bob Hope:

 - On a course in Florida I hit an alligator so hard that he's now my golf bag.

 - On the 18th tee I put a ball through the clubhouse window. It wasn't easy. It was behind me.

 - Jimmy Stewart spoke so slowly that by the time he yelled "Fore!" the guy he hit was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.


Federal health insurance reform

Erica James

Tom Waller introduced our guest speaker this week, Erika James, President of Full Circle. Full Circle specializes in individual and group health care benefits. She has been on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Mt. Diablo and is a former Vice-President of the Alumni Board of Directors of St. Mary's College of Moraga.

Erika asked Richmond Rotarians how many had health care insurance as individuals? Through their businesses? Through MediCal?

Erika then pointed out that California pays one of lowest rates of health care insurance in the nation. Californians were guaranteed insurance. Thus, California’s uninsured were able to be insured.

She noted that there were three major causes that drive up the cost of health care: First, people were living a lot longer; second, the high cost of prescription drugs; and third, 50-60% of insurance benefits are spent in the last 30 days of one’s life.

Erika offered some background information on prescription drugs for the period of 1997-2007. She said that the cost of prescription drugs rose twice as fast as the rate of inflation. Also, 50% of adults in the U.S. used a least one prescription drug per day. Seven percent used as least five prescription drugs per day.

She stated that under the new “Obama Health Care Plan,” there are significant changes. The Plan is a “multilayer” approach that will unfold in yearly segments between now and 2014.

As of September 23, 2010, key changes take effect as part of the Plan, including:

  • Creation of the “national high-risk pools.” People who cannot get insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions will have immediate access to high-risk pools that do not exclude people with such conditions.
  • Outlawing rescission. Insurance companies will not be allowed to drop  insurance coverage when the insured person gets sick
  • Removal of HMO and PPO lifetime limits. Insurance companies will not be allowed to put caps on the amount they will spend on lifetime coverage costs.
  • Insurability of young adults. Children will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance policies until they are 26. Right now, health plans often drop children from their parents’ plans when they turn 19 or finish college.
  • Shrinking the “donut hole.” Medicare’s prescription drug plan causes for many persons a gap in known as the donut hole. This gap will be remedied this year with a $250 rebate. However, over time, the new law will close the gap, reducing out-of-pocket drug costs for people on Medicare Part D.
  • Early retiree coverage. The Plan creates a temporary re-insurance program to support coverage for early retirees.
  • Justification for insurance cost increases. Insurance companies now have to justify increases in the cost of health care plans. California already has this provision in place.
  • Tax credits available for small businesses. The credits are targeted to help employers with low and moderate income workers afford to offer employees health insurance coverage. Generally, employers that have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and pay wages averaging less than $50,000 per employee per year may qualify for the credit. Because the eligibility formula is based in part on the number of FTEs, not the number of employees, employers that have more than 25 individual workers may also qualify if some of their workers are part-time.

For more information on the new healthcare reform, you may contact Erika James at
Erika also provided a list of websites if your need more information on the new health care reform:

Alan thanked Erika for her very timely and informative presentation.

– Yvonne Nair, rotating scribe