The Flywheel

Next Meeting: May 18th

The Future of Biology – Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

With Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's recent selection of the U.C. Richmond Field Station as the "preferred" site for its second campus, one of the facilities slated to locate there is the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI).

The JGI is the world leader in sequencing DNA of non-medical microbes, plants, fungi and other targets relevant to DOE missions in energy, climate, and environment. Learn how the unseen microbial world is poised to fuel our energy future.


Meeting of Friday, May 11th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

On a beautiful, summer-like day, President EJ Shalaby called to order a well attended meeting at the Richmond Country Club. Michelle Itagaki was asked to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Stoney Stonework offered a silent moment for peace, freedom and justice on earth. Henry Kelman drew cheers and applause with his recognition of the newly-organized membership badge box. (Thank you, Sid!)

Visiting Rotarians

Doug Millar and Dennis Bullis were visiting from the San Pablo Rotary Club.

Rotarians with Guests

Joan Davis introduced her guest and neighbor, Steve Auerbach.


  • Josh Surowitz has planned a Happy Hour at La Strada Restaurant for Friday, May 18, from 4pm to 6pm, after which those attending Poker & Rib Night will move to Alan Baer’s home.
  • Alan Baer will be hosting Poker & Rib Night on Friday, May 18, starting at 6pm. All are welcome and need not play poker to enjoy Santa’s ribs and the festivities. A $50 ‘buy in’ will go to the Scholarship Fund.
  • Mark Howe asked for volunteers for the NIAD Fix-Up Day, which will be on Saturday, May 19, from 9am to 12pm. Contact Mark for details.
  • Tom Butt and his wife, Shirley, are hosting the 9th Annual Refinery Town BBQ & Bluegrass at Nicholl Knob on Sunday, May 27, from 2pm to 6pm.
  • The Northern California Summit on Children & Youth 2012 will be held Wednesday and Thursday, May 16 & 17, at the Richmond Civic Center Auditorium. Contact Joan Davis for details and registration.
  • The San Pablo Rotary Club will be holding a Tequila Tasting at Restaurante La Revolucion on Wednesday, May 16. The cost is $100. 
  • Joan Davis reminded us that the Rotary Foundation operates on a fiscal year: July 1 – June 30. Members are encouraged to make their minimum $100 annual contributions to the Foundation at the start of the new fiscal year - July 1. A member will become a Paul Harris Fellow when his or her combined contributions total $1,000. Contact Joan for details.


  • Dan Sanders accepted a Paul Harris Award on behalf of his wife, Sara, who he designated as recipient of the award.
  • Nick Despota celebrated his 63rd birthday on April 29th by biking around Holland on a beautiful day with his wife, eating cheese and chocolate and, apparently, losing weight all the while.
  • Mark Howe celebrated his 56th birthday yesterday by going for a sail, having a margarita taste-off with his girlfriend and his son, and by making a $500 contribution to the Rotary Foundation.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Given the size of the crowd at today’s meeting, happy dollars abounded:

  • Hank Covell was thrilled to be taking John Nicol out with him to play poker today
  • Dan Sanders was pleased to have finally finished a presentation that had been collecting dust for a long time
  • John Lawlis was beaming as he described how Darlene sold her place and is moving to the Bay Area
  • Jan Brown reminisced about her amazing month traveling through Ireland and Scotland, while tasting nearly every type of Irish whiskey and scotch along the way
  • Rafael Madrigal was happy to see how well attended Richmond’s Cinco de Mayo Festival was this year
  • Alan Baer was appreciative of all those who had volunteered to tend the Rotary booth during the Cinco de Mayo Festival
  • Josh Surowitz also had a great time at the Cinco de Mayo Festival, was very happy to see the large turnout at today’s meeting and was glad to see John Nicol at last week’s meeting - - but not quite as pleased to have lost his shirt while playing cards with him afterwards
  • Herb Cole was ecstatic to see the size of the crowd at today’s meeting
  • David Brown flew 9/10ths of one logable hour during his first flight training, which was “freaking awesome”, and plans to complete his next Paul Harris Award when he completes his first solo flight.

Norm's Nonsense

Yes, more lawyer jokes ...

-How does an attorney sleep? First he lies on one side. Then he lies on the other.

-What can you say about a hundred lawers buried up to their necks in cement? Not enough cement.

-Do you know what's wrong with lawyer jokes? Lawyers don't think they're funny and everyone else thinks they're not jokes."



The "A-Games"

Our guest speaker, introduced by Tom Waller, was Dr. George Selleck, a former All-American basketball player at Stanford University, and a highly regarded psychologist with over 40 years’ experience in youth sports, sports psychology, child development, coaching. Over the course of his many decades of work in the areas of sports and psychology, Dr. Selleck has watched a continuing, enormous decline in the availability of and participation in organized sports activities and physical education. This, combined with changes in diet and ever-increasing access to technology, has resulted in major segments of America’s youth suffering from physical ailments, including childhood obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Recognizing that this trend has developed into a serious national epidemic, Dr. Selleck, using his own funds, has developed a program called the “A-Games” which, according to Dr. Selleck, is a program designed around child development and leadership principles, and which uses inclusive, fun, school-based fitness programs specifically designed to engage children from all walks of life in organized, inexpensive sports activities that will help improve not only their physical health, but which, as research shows, will serve to improve academic performance, leadership, responsibility and life skills.

The central mission of the “A-Games” is to help every child, regardless of physical ability, reach their own full potential by serving as a means to positively affect health, behavior, leadership and life skills and educational performance. The essential principles of the “A-Games” is to create a safe and engaging context for kids to design and operate the sports and exercise programs they, themselves, are interested in; provide a “toolkit” for the kids that is easy to use and to take the initiative and responsibility for, but allow teachers, parents and community leaders to provide guidance and support to the kids in that program. Dr. Selleck feels that, through this cost-efficient means of engaging America’s youth in routine physical exercise of their own design, with adult support and assistance, it will help to reverse the trend of increasingly debilitating childhood obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses, while serving to develop young leaders with an enhanced sense of responsibility, respect and life skills to support themselves with in the future.

- Rotating Editor, David Keystone