The Flywheel

Next Meeting: Friday, April 22nd

Building early railroad across a mountain pass

The Value of Youth Mentoring

Effective mentoring can help lead to productive and successful lives for young people, especially those socially and economically at risk. Fellow Rotarian, Bob Goetsch (Hayward Rotary Club), is founder and President of Be A Mentor, Inc., an 18-year-old, Hayward-based non-profit whose mission is to provide schools and communities with trained volunteer mentors to be positive adult role models for youth. Come learn how it works and related news about what’s happening in Richmond.

Meeting of Friday, April 15th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Alan Baer welcomed the members and their guests to the friendly Richmond Rotary Club. Stoney led us in the pledge. George Egan led us in a silent prayer for freedom, peace and justice on earth. Henry Kelman was happy to see the State cut the legislators’ car allowance to $300.

Rotarians with Guests

Glenn Daggs introduced his long time friend, Annie Waltz Kubicka. Edgar Deleon introduced his friend Mari Stainbrook, an Ambassador with the Richmond Chamber. Jim Beaver introduced his guest Jack Hill.


  • Alan reminded us about the District’s Assembly on Saturday, April 16th, at Solano Community College in Vallejo. The conference starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • He announced that San Pablo Rotary has a fund raising event “A Night in Tuscany” on Friday, April 29th. Richmond Rotary has a table. Two spots were left, $50 each.
  • He announced that San Pablo Club and its Rotaractors will join us in the Cinco de Mayo parade, on Saturday, April 30th. Show-up between 8-9 a.m. and the march will start at 10 a.m. We need help in the booth.
  • Jim Young announced that on Friday, June 17th, Richmond Club will join the Berkeley Club at H’s Lordship restaurant. The topic will be about earthquakes.
  • Edgar Deleon announced that West County Chambers of Commerce have a Breakfast for Business on Wednesday, April 27, from 7:30am to 8:45 am, at Richmond Courtyard by Marriott at Hilltop.


Jim Beaver, Recognitions Master, called on Bill Koziol, who had a surprise birthday party on April 4th. Bill’s daughter celebrated her 1st birthday. On April 26th, Bill will celebrate his anniversary in Las Vegas.

When Jim Beaver had a surprise birthday party for his wife he forgot to tell his guests to park away from the house. So much for surprises.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Glenn Daggs had dollars in memory of Werner Schawrz

Bill Koziol gave dollars in memory of Ted Abreu

Bob Dabney will be vacationing in Porta Vallarta.

Edgar Deleon is celebrated a birthday on April 3rd. Edgar was happy that Squadron 44 had 3 articles in the Civil Air Patrol magazine. The Squadron also was won rewards. His son made the dean’s list and his daughter got a fellowship from Stanford.

Don Lau was happy spending time in Hawaii with his 94-year-old father and 98-year-old mother.

Glenn Daggs was happy because both of his son and daughter got a 1st place, thanks to her athletic prowess.

Herb Cole just got back from Texas and was happy because his 93 old mother and 91-year-old father-in-law were in good health.

John Nicol, who had $2 left in his pocket. He was happy because the IRS returned $3160 to him for a mistake they made.

Jim Young was happy to be back after visiting his grandchildren in the East. Jim visited the Wilmington Club. He recommended that we look at their website. He was impressed by their trip to Pakistan.

Stoney told a joke in Werner Schawrz’s memory.

Jim Beaver was happy to see his friend and our speaker, Howard Abelson,

Norm's Nonsense

Not more Italian jokes ...
- Did you hear about the Italian attempt on Mt. Everest? They ran out of scaffolding.

- Why don't Italians like Jehovah's Witnesses? They don't like any witnesses.

- What do you call it when an Italian breaks his arm? A speech impediment.

PROGRAM of April 8th

Spanning the Sierras with the Central Pacific Railroad

Building early railroad across a mountain pass

Our speaker was Howard Abelson, long time El Cerritan and lifelong railroad and train enthusiast. Howard discussed the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad over the Sierras to Promontory Point Utah. The completion of the intercontinental railroad in 1869 was a significant event equal to the landing on the moon. The challenge was to build the RR up 6000 feet in the Sierras.

Theodore Judah was the first American railroad engineer who dreamed of the transcontinental railroad. Judah failed to raise the fund needed to build the R.R. He managed to get the Big Four: Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker to finance the project. Judah also lobbied the federal government to finance and authorize the construction. Crocker later marginalized Judah. Judah left the project, went back east and died in NY.

In 1863 it took 5 years to build the railroad from Sacramento to Reno. 1867 the Sierras had a record snowfall. They had to build special plows to clear the railroad path. Of the 14,000 workers that worked on the railroad 10,000 were Chinese.

It took overland travelers 6 months to travel from New York to California. After the completion of the Pacific Rail Road (PRR) it took the travelers 6 days to travel from NY to CA.

The term “red light district” was first used in Truckee, CA. The railroaders then carried red lights. When they came to town for fun, they used to leave their red lights at the door indicating that the occupant was busy entertaining, and hence the red light district name started.

Howard is also a Board Member of the Western Railway Museum (WRM) in Solano County. The WRM preserve old RR lines that were used between Oakland and Sacramento. The trains were built to high standards and travelled at 60-65 miles per hour. The WRM gives the visitors the opportunity to ride 50 historic streetcars and electric cars from all over California.

Every April the WRM arrange train trips to view native wildflowers. The passengers of the Vintage Comet will learn about and sample local wines. In October the local Rotary Clubs organize pumpkin patch event.

- Rotating Editor and Scribe, Nabil Wahbeh