The Flywheel

Next Meeting: June 15

"Richmond Tales, Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle", the Play

President-elect Jim Young describes a partnership opportunity between Richmond Rotary, Singapore Rotary, the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts to stage this play based on the well-received adolescent fiction book of the same name.

The previously scheduled presentation by Jim Matzorkis about the Port of Richmond will be rescheduled for a later date.


Meeting of Friday, June 8

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Richmond Rotary Club President EJ Shalaby called the meeting to order and asked Jim Young to lead the pledge of allegiance. Herb Cole asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Henry Kelman’s thought for the day focused on our “national pastime” (yes, it’s officially still baseball) as he pondered whether the Giants and Dodgers might battle to a pennant-race tie like they did in the 1960’s. [Scribe’s extra note: A reading of Giants-Dodgers history has the two of them ending the regular 1951 season in a pennant-race tie, the outcome of which was the Giants winning a three-game play-off in the 9th inning of the third game with Bobby Thomson’s amazing home-run, the “shot heard ‘round the world”. Then in 1962, about four years after the two teams moved to the West Coast, there was another end-of-season pennant-race tie and the Giants again won a three-game playoff. What a rivalry!]

Visiting Rotarians

  • Fred Collignon from Berkeley Rotary.
  • Dene Kimball from Midlothian, VA, a suburb of the “other Richmond”. He has family living here in the east bay and says he’s happily attended our Club meeting before. He brought one of his Rotary Club banners for our collection.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Henry Kelman introduced his brother, Joseph.
  • Norm Foley introduced his wife, Bonnie.
  • Henry Moe introduced three Rotary Interact students from Salesian High School, all proudly wearing their Rotary jackets provided by our Club. Each of the three young ladies shared some personal thoughts about Rotary and how much they appreciate our Club’s support. Treasurer David Brown presented Tiffany, one of the visiting students, a $1500 Richmond Rotary scholarship that she will use in attending Mills College next Fall. Erle Brown commented that Salesian Interact students are indispensable in helping out each year with Richmond Rotary’s Crab Feed held at Salesian High. Jim Young called for a round of applause for Henry Moe’s significant contribution as advisor to the Salesian Interact Club.

Sunshine Report

  • Hank Covell reported that he’s picking up John Nicol for a routine poker get-together.
  • While detailed information was not available, it was reported that Dan Tanita’s wife was having some heart-related problems and should be kept in everyone’s thoughts.
  • Michelle Itagaki is home recovering from hip surgery and is in good spirits.


David Brown reported that our Club’s commitment to match an Interact fundraising project up to $1000 has resulted in a $2300 check being sent to the District office to support Interact’s designated project (an orphanage in India). Congratulations to Salesian Interact for raising $1300!

Special Events

Joan Davis presented Jim Young a Paul Harris for his $1000 donation to the Rotary Foundation in the name of his son-in-law, Scott Johnson.


Norm Foley was recognized for his birthday that occurs later in the month. With his wife Bonnie having celebrated her birthday a few days ago, Norm provided a $200 check for the Club’s general fund.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Markku Pelanne shared a classic Ted Turner remark about where technology may be taking the world. Turner supposedly said he wasn’t sure but noted that we’re getting there fast.
  • Herb Cole had happy dollars for seeing Joe Bagley at a Rotary meeting again.
  • Hank Covell shared some happy dollars as one of the oldest fans of Salesian High School. His family moved to the east bay in 1941 and lived close to the school in the home where Hank grew up.
  • Josh Genser was happy about personal activities coming up in the next six weeks but sad that he’ll miss Rotary meetings during that time. He’s first going fly-fishing in Montana, then up to his near-by cabin for more fishing with 23 guys from his synagogue, and then he and his wife are off to South America to visit their daughter who’s going to school in Santiago, Chile.
  • Joe Bagley, saying it is “nice to see most of you”, presented $100 happy dollars to the Werner Schwarz Fund. Since he’s recently moved business operations to his home, circumstances are now such that he hopes to be able to attend more Rotary meetings.
  • Joan Davis recently returned from Wauwatosa, WI, where her grandson celebrated his first birthday with a clear pronouncement of “nana” in her honor.
  • Alan Baer provided happy dollars on behalf of his daughter who wanted him to share her happiness about “graduating” from six years at Washington elementary school in Point Richmond, including a special award for her multilingual skills.
  • David Brown is happy about his recent one out of eight textbook-perfect landing during his current flight training saga. (Actually, like one-to-one submarine dives and re-surfacings, all one-to-one matches of aircraft take-offs to landings without incident are to be considered highly successful.)
  • Jim Beaver is happy about being able to attend the upcoming US Open Golf Tournament in San Francisco.
  • Jim Young happily shared some commentary about his recent trip to Asia, where he attended the Rotary International convention in Thailand. He recommended that all Rotarians strive to attend at least one of the international gatherings sometime. While traveling in Asia, Jim was able to attend Rotary meetings in Singapore and Hakuba, Japan. He then recounted three of the four main goals in Rotary’s five-year plan: eliminate polio (only three countries left), expand the international grants and partnership programs, and emphasize peace through service. As for the fourth goal, Jim either had some lingering jet-lag or a senior moment and said he’d get back to us on that one.

Norm's Nonsense

"That wife of mine is a liar," says the angry husband to a sympathetic pal seated next to him in the bar.
"How do you know?" the friend asks.
"She didn't come home home last night, and when I asked her where she'd been, she said she'd spent the night with her sister Shirley."
"So, she's a liar. I spent the night with her sister Shirley!"



Is there a better way?

Nick Despota guided an interactive discussion about the use and usefulness of the Club’s email and website communications system, particularly with regard to the current weekly email notice that contains a link to the Club’s home page, the Flywheel, which you're looking at right now.

There is, of course, other useful Club information online like a calendar of events, a member directory, etc. However, it was nicely pointed out by a visiting Rotarian from Virginia that clear, readily accessible online information about when and where Richmond Rotary meets would be helpful to others wanting to attend.

Based on responses by the 30 or so Club members in attendance, it appears that Flywheel readership has at least doubled in recent years and most everyone is pleased with the current system.

Nick introduced two ideas for possible implementation: a formatted email newsletter and a simpler web input system.

The formatted email newsletter would be completed by trained Rotary scribes and would contain short snippets of Flywheel content directly in the body of the email with links to “read more” on the web site. The simpler web input system would basically retain the current online Flywheel format but content would be entered directly by scribes trained to use the popular Wordpress web platform.

While members generally didn’t think there’s a need to change the current weekly email notice, there was a willingness to adopt to a simpler web input system. The resulting production process would enable greater sharing of the communications work load and help get Nick more “off the hook”.

- Rotating Editor, Tom Waller