The Flywheel

Next Meeting: Friday, June 10th

The Civil Air Patrol

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Richmond Rotarian Edgar deLeon introduces the Club to the Diablo Composite Squadron 44 of the Civil Air Patrol. CAP is the US Air Force auxiliary. Its missions include air/ground search and rescue and disaster relief; promoting aviation and aerospace education & transforming youth ages 12 – 20 into responsible aerospace leaders. Edgar will also give us a brief description of CAP participation in the, 'Wreaths Across America' program

Meeting of Friday, June 3rd

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Alan Baer rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Mr. Nonsense Norm Foley led the pledge of allegiance and Stoney asked for a moment of silence for peace and justice on earth.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Norm Foley introduced his wife, Bonnie.
  • Michael Gill introduced Richard Ozer, owner of a computer services company in Oakland and a friend of today’s speaker.

Sunshine Report

Because of Bill Koziol’s absence and the cloud-covered skies, there was nothing reported with regard to sunshine (so everyone seems to be doing ok?).


  • The Teen Mom kits, which Richmond Rotarians packed with care at the regular Friday meeting on May 27, were delivered on Thursday, June 2, to both Kennedy and Richmond High Schools.
  • The mid-month Richmond Rotary meeting will not be held on Friday, June 17, but, instead, will be held on Wednesday, June 15, at His Lordship’s Restaurant in Berkeley (joint meeting with Berkeley and San Pablo Clubs). The speaker will be a seismic expert talking about earthquakes (not if but when).
  • The annual Rotarian baseball outing will be at the Oakland A’s Coliseum on Saturday, August 20. Cost is $30 per person. The 6:05pm game will feature the A’s and the Toronto Blue Jays. Plan to stay for the fireworks show after the game. Before the game, a Rotarian tail-gate will get started in the parking lot by about 3:30pm (more info to follow).


  • Nick Despota and his bride, Nel, recently celebrated 38 years of marriage with a family gathering at a rented condo in Pismo Beach. The Despotas also found out that their son and his wife will be having their first child, making Nick and Nel first-time grandparents.
  • Norm Foley volunteered that he celebrated his birthday about a week ago and that his wife Bonnie has one coming up in three weeks.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Josh Genser will miss the next three meetings but is happy about upcoming travels, including a couple of trips up to his cabin and a getaway to Montana.
  • David Brown had happy dollars about Aubrey Huff being back in the Giants line-up but sad dollars about Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, still being held captive by Hamas after five years.
  • Joan Davis was happy about becoming a grandparent for the fourth time.
  • Edgar DeLeon offered happy dollars about his son speaking at Richmond Rotary next meeting (June 10) about the Civil Air Patrol.

Norm's Nonsense

The businesswoman ordered a fancy floral arrangement for the grand opening of her new outlet. She was furious when it arrived adorned with a ribbon which read, "May You Rest in Peace."

Apologizing profusely, the florist finally got her to calm down with the reminder that somewhere a funeral home was displaying an arrangement bearing the words "Good Luck in your New Location."


The astronomical observatory in our backyard

Jim Young
introduced Jon Wilson, son of Richmond Rotarian John Wilson.

A high school math teacher and a lover of astronomy, Jon is President of the Mount Diablo Observatory Association (MDOA), a cooperating organization within Mount Diablo State Park and a sister group of the long-established Mount Diablo Astronomical Society (MDAS).

Incorporated in 1988, MDOA members planned, raised funds and established an astronomical observatory on Mount Diablo, which includes a computer-controlled Celestron 14 telescope with various electronic attachments as well as a classroom-sized warm-up room for public briefings and instruction.

Check out the MDAS web site and look for the schedule of events, ways to become a member (amateurs welcome), and opportunities to participate in the exciting free programs open to the public. Donations are also accepted in order to expand educational offerings and help get kids jazzed about science.

With his infectious enthusiasm for the subject, Jon shared some great photos and fascinating information.

  • Distances in the vastness of space are usually expressed in light years with one light year being the distance that light travels in a year. Speeding along at 186,000 miles per second, light covers about six trillion miles in one year. [A trillion is, of course, a pretty serious number as any student of America’s debt crisis knows.]
  • Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 100,000 light years across.
  • Countless objects in the universe, from what Jon called globular clusters to Ring Nebula to other galaxies, are estimated to be millions of light years away from earth (that’s many, many trillions of miles).
  • Astronomy is like a time machine – we’re always looking at “old” light. For example, even light from our own sun takes about 8.5 minutes to reach the earth.
  • Hundreds of star-planetary systems like our solar system have been (and are being) discovered. But who knows if there’s “life” out there.

- Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe