The Flywheel


The Annual Holiday Auction is the most important fundraiser and social event of the Rotary year.

Please attend, be generous, and bring friends. Have a look at the great auction items that we've collected.

If you still haven't submitted your auction item, you may make your Holiday Auction donation here.



Meeting of Friday, November 18th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President EJ Shalaby rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Michelle Itagaki led the pledge of allegiance. Stoney asked for a silent moment for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Henry Kelman’s thought for the day: nice to see the stock market up in the morning!

Rotarians with Guests

Don Lau introduced his guest, Lynn Martin, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Mental Health Program, a private non-profit public benefit corporation located in Richmond.

Sunshine Report

(The following was reported several days after this Friday meeting) The service for John Nicol’s wife, Felicia, was well-attended. Felicia left a wonderful legacy as a genuinely friendly and caring person who will be missed by all those who were fortunate to know her.


  • Josh Surowitz will be heading up a Membership Committee that is looking for others interested to help in the recruitment and retention of members for Richmond Rotary. Josh also reported that about 15 members straggled in and out of the recent happy-hour gathering at the Hotel Mac. This kind of activity provides an informal social setting for current members to get to know each other better and to also bring prospective members to introduce to others. Stay tuned for an announcement about the date and time of the next gathering.
  • Joan Davis reminded everyone that November is Foundation Month, a great time during this season of giving to make a contribution to the Rotary Foundation. Just click on the link in the left column.
  • Don Lau and Jim Beaver reminded everyone about the Christmas auction to be held at the next regularly scheduled Club meeting on Friday, December 2. There’s still time to donate items to be put up for auction. Please click the link in the left column to describe your auction item and send a photo of it, you have one. The December 2 meeting will start promptly at 12-noon in the big room so come early with lots of friends and money (yours and theirs) to purchase auction items. Remember this is the Club’s largest fund-raising event of the year.


Don Lau turned 60 on November 8 and his father turned 95 on November 13.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jim Beaver had happy dollars for the successful passage (73% in favor) of Measure J, which provides for a parcel tax to help fund Doctors Medical Center (DMC) in San Pablo and keep its emergency room open. Jim told of a friend who has Kaiser insurance and who, upon recently showing up at Kaiser with heart attack symptoms, was taken immediately to DMC’s emergency room because of the unique ability of DMC to handle heart attack victims. Jim also had heartfelt comments for Felicia Nicol, someone he says truly deserved to be called a “sweet and gentle person”.
  • Herb Cole offered some happy dollars after coming back from Texas and his mother’s 94th birthday.
  • David Brown had sad dollars in honor of James Capoot, the Vallejo police officer and Marine Corps veteran recently shot and killed by a bank robber.
  • Josh Surowitz had happy dollars for attending the recent Contractors Lunch along with some sadness from the $3000 repair bill that resulted from a blown head gasket in his car while being driven home by his wife. Josh is also happy about an upcoming week-long business-with-pleasure trip to Spain, wife included.
  • Michelle Itagaki gave up some happy dollars for the Richmond Rockets basketball team and their winning start. The Rockets’ next home game will be December 22.

Norm's Nonsense

More gems from W.C. Fields
- "A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her."

- After a night of heavy drinking W.C. Fields fell asleep in a pig sty, next to its lone occupant. In a short while the pig got up and moved away from him.

- W.C. Fields never gave up driving a car. One day he was on his way to a picnic north of Hollywood when he collided with a house. When the homeowner came out, Fields berated him for building his house at that particular spot.


District Governor Dave Dacus

EJ Shalaby introduced Rotary District Governor, Dave Dacus, and his wife, Tara. The couple lives in Vacaville although Dave is a member of the Walnut Creek Sunrise Rotary Club, which best fits his schedule for continuing his longstanding insurance business in Walnut Creek. Tara is a member of the Fairfield Rotary Club.

Dave began by thanking Pam Jones for her current service as Assistant District Governor (ADG) and Jon Lawlis for his past service as ADG. He also thanked all of us for being part of the Rotary family of 1.2 million worldwide members spread among 32,000 Clubs in almost 200 countries.

Dave encouraged everyone to attend the annual District Conference whenever possible not only to experience firsthand the compelling story of all the good things that Rotary does but also to get better as individual Rotarians and as a Club. The recently concluded “Magic of Rotary” conference in Monterey was highly successful. Dave had an interesting side note about five non-Rotarians who attended the conference and then joined Rotary because of what they witnessed.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Rotary District Conference to be held at the Meritage Spa and Resort in Napa, November 2-6, 2012.

Dave introduced his wife, Tara, who spoke briefly about a Rotary project she learned about at a Rotary conference and that she’s now supporting. The project’s goal is to increase awareness and education about Shaken Baby Syndrome, which occurs when infants are shaken dramatically, usually because they won’t stop crying. Over 10,000 babies nationally are injured this way each year, 1500 of them with catastrophic brain damage or even death.

Tara demonstrated a special baby doll with light indicators showing locations in the brain where damage occurs from shaking. Richmond Rotary has purchased one of these special dolls and will be donating it for use in local high school health classes.

Returning to the microphone, Dave talked more about Rotary’s service to humanity, about the positive impact of Rotary’s work in local communities and around the world. He’s had the opportunity to travel internationally and to see how Rotary changes and improves people’s lives, from cleft-lip surgeries and water-well projects in Africa to improving literacy, reducing hunger, and closing in on the global eradication of polio.

Regarding the ongoing battle against polio, Dave mentioned that the four remaining countries with reported cases through 2010 were Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria (note the acronym PAIN). The good news is that there are no new reported polio cases year-to-date anywhere in India.

The overall District goal for this year is to raise $1.2 million for the Rotary Foundation to continue its philanthropic work. That works out to about $100 more giving per District member compared to last year. Dave encouraged everyone not to be shy about telling the Rotary story to non-Rotarians and asking them to contribute, especially because 100% of all donations go directly to projects, there are matching dollars that multiply the amount given, and Rotary exemplifies the highest standards through the four-way test.

District Governor Dave “The Rave” Dacus is a sincere and enthusiastic advocate for Rotary and its good works. “The Rave” nickname apparently came from Dave’s basketball days growing up in Oklahoma and his obsessive embrace of Buddy Holly’s hit song, “Rave On”. It’s a pleasure and an inspiration to have Dave “Rave On For Rotary” and to remind us that Rotarians join for the fellowship but stay to change the world.

-Rotating Editor, Tom Waller