The Flywheel

Next meeting: January 13th

Cogeneration at Chevron

Chevron engineer Tim Burchfield discusses the modern co-generation plant at the Richmond Refinery, and the potential contribution that "co-gen" can make to the electrical grid.


Meeting of Friday, January 6, 2011

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez. EJ was caught at a meeting so PP Alan Baer rang the bell. That ring was ‘a little late’ given member interest in making sure the full greeting and meting cycle of the meeting was 90 minutes, not the 60 minute duration perceived by some. Judy Kafka led the Pledge and Stony Stonework asked for a moment of silence for Peace, Freedom and Justice around the world. Henry Kelman’s Thought for the Day was a loud Happy New Year, and may 2012 be better for all than 2011!

Rotarians with Guests

Don Lau brought his son Jason.
Erle Brown was blessed to be between two lady/guests, his lovely wife Phyllis and his lovely niece Mattie Hunt.
Jim Young was equally blessed as he introduced his lovely wife Linda and a banking colleague Mehnoosh Ashkari from the Wells Fargo business banking group in Concord.
Alan Baer introduced his guest Jason Benz of Merchant Truth Credit Card Processing.

Sunshine Report

It was reported that John Nicol is at home and is now retired. Give him a call.
Sid Chauvin was ill at home and ’busy at both ends’.


  • Marku Pelanne reminded the club that the Battleship Iowa is moored at Terminal 3 in the Richmond Inner Harbor (where the container cranes are located) and open to the public on weekends until, Sat. & Sun., 10 – 4 until someone figures out how to get enough money to have it towed to LA, or so the story goes.
  • David A. Brown (a Mechanic) advised the club that Mechanics Bank has just deposited $143 in the club’s account in their  annual support of local non[profits. (DAB did not calculate the effective ‘API’ that would give the club when the contribution is added to the interest income otherwise paid by Mechanics Bank.)
  • Crab Feed
  • Erle Brown beat the Crab Feed drum:
    The 5th Annual Rotary Crab Feed
    January 28th. 6PM bar, 7PM dinner
    Salesian High School
    Volunteer helpers also needed.
    Please use the PayPal button on the right to purchase your tickets, or bring a check to the next meeting.
  • Mark your calendars for the St. Patrick’s Day dinner fest March 17th, Saturday at Hs Lordship’s, $45/person in advance, $50 at the door if seats are still available.
  • Prez EJ Shalaby, having relieved PP Alan of temporary duty, advised the club that we had received a series of thank you letters from the teachers at Peres School who received our $100 ‘materials’ gift.


Don Lau recognized recent birthday boy PP Alan Baer for his Christmas Day Birthday. Alan waxed philosophic about having his B-Day  on Christmas, the ensuing 5 minutes +/- of personal recognition and his own unique relationship with Santa who many of us also know as Mrs. Alan Baer. In spite of that Alan will remember his B-Day with a contribution to the Warner/Rafus Fund.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Josh Genser was Happy he finally got to go with Herb and Sid and Fish Alan on the epic Delta sturgeon quest. He was even more Happy he bought a couple of bags of Pringles before leaving the marina store, otherwise the only thing they would have had to eat on the trip was beer, wine and scotch. What sturgeon?
  • Josh G. had Happy $$ for the trip he and his daughter took to the Fiesta Bowl to watch Stanford lose.  That wasn’t their goal, but it was such a good game, ‘It was worth it!”
  • Liliane Koziol, just back last night, from Madagascar had Happy $$ for our Rotary Hospital project which is now fully operational and performing as originally proposed.
  • Herb Cole had Happy $$ for Judy Kafka’s participation in today’s meeting.
  • Doris Mitchell had Happy $$ in recognition of her brother’s wedding.
  • Stony Stonework had Happy $$ for the new Cal football schedule because the Bears are going to play Ohio State in Columbus and, I’m going to that one”.

Norm's Nonsense

The lawyer was cross-examining the doctor about whether he checked the pulse of the deceased before he signed the death certificate.
"No," he said, "I didn't check his pulse."
"And did you listen for a heartbeat?" said the lawyer.
"No, I did not," said the doctor.
"So," said the lawyer, "when you signed the death certificate, you had not taken steps to make sure he was dead."
The doctor replied, "Well, let me put it this way. The man's brain was in a jar on my desk, but for all I know he could be out practicing law somewhere."


A vist from Brazil's Consul General Ramos

A travel weary Liliane Koziol introduced today’s guest and speaker, the Honorable Eduardo Prisco Paraiso Ramos Counsel General of Brazil. CG Ramos was born in 1951 in Rio de Janeiro, attended the Catholic University in journalism and has served Brazil as a career diplomat most of his life. Prior to becoming CG for San Francisco he was Ambassador to Panama and held posts in London, Paris and several other Latin American countries.

CG Ramos thanked Liliane for inviting him to Richmond Rotary and wished everyone a Happy New Year. He then provided a few factoids about Brazil: It is the largest country in South America accounting for ½ the continental land mass and is 3,300 thousand square miles. Brazil is the 5th largest country on Earth, The Largest city is Sao Paulo with a population of 11million followed by Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, total population 191 million. Sao Paul is the second largest ‘Italian’ city in the world with an Italian descendent population of million.

CG Ramos said Brazil is a ‘boring country with only an occasional flood, no earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, cyclones. ‘Boring’, except for Carnival, and the pending 2016 Olympics and the 2014 World Cup (which he acknowledged may not mean much in the US but was a very big deal in the rest of the world) and, oh yes, the 7.5% annual GDP economic growth which has slowed in the Great Recession to 3.5%. This is a highly abbreviated telling of the story but CG Ramos credited the current very strong Brazilian economy to the restoration of democracy after a long period of military rule, elimination of hyper inflation through the hard work , pragmatic ‘economic policies of the 1990s and some important infrastructural investment  that has simultaneously allowed Brazil to become a world agribusiness player and allowed for a major expansion of consumerism and the middleclass. Brazilian global exports are now dominated by beef, chicken and soy cake. They still include the traditional commodities of coffee and sugar but now also include orange juice concentrate. They also include a host of manufacture products, most notably aircraft. CG Ramos said that most of the Jet Blue aircraft fleet is composed of Embraer aircraft made in Brazil. Of course there was more.

CG Ramos fielded a couple of tough questions from the members. Asked about the Brazilian attitude about climate change, CG Ramos said that there was real concern about Amazonia and the possible destabilization of  the tropical environment which was seen as bad for Brazilian agriculture, the economy and the nation as a whole. CG Ramos was also asked about the social unrest that has been created by the clearing of Rio’s slums as part of Olympic development.  He acknowledged that it was a complicated and difficult situation as the Favelas (shanty towns) in Rio have always existed ‘beyond the civil government’ and that the reintegration of the favelas into the civil community meant that their extra-governmental social order which is dominated by criminal gangs had to go through the process of removing the criminals and reintegrating the non-criminal majority population back into the community. He said it is a work in progress but that at least Rio has finally faced up to a situation that it has ignored for about 100 years.

A wistful look came over CG Ramos when he was asked to make recommendation for potential visitors to Carnival. He said it is ‘wonderful and for a week the country shuts down with the only job being pursued by everyone is being happy’. He suggested that in addition to Rio, those who want to experience a unique Carnival should consider visiting Bahia and Recife.
Thank you Counsul General Ramos. We hope you will be able to vacation at Carnival as well as providing Rotary with very current information about modern Brazil.

- Rotating Editor, Jim Young/