The Flywheel

Next Meeting: June 22

Rebuilding Together

Rebuilding Together was, at one time, Christmas In April. Executive Director and Berkeley Rotarian John Stevens tells us how the community service continues under its new moniker.


Meeting of Friday, June 15

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Club President EJ Shalaby called the meeting to order. After the pledge of allegiance, Herb Cole asked for a moment of silence for peace, justice, and freedom on earth. With Henry Kelman not present to share a thought for the day, Sid Chauvin dug deep and reminded everyone to buy low and sell high.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Jim Young introduced his wife, Linda.
  • Rafael Madrigal introduced his guest, Rosa Lara, who is working with the Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes.
  • Alan Baer introduced his daughter, Stephanie.
  • Edgar DeLeon introduced his guest and colleague from CBeyond (a telecommunications services firm), Evan Steiner.

Sunshine Report

  • Sid Chauvin said that John Nicol has some “tube” surgery coming up.
  • Jim Young reported that Dan Tanita’s wife has heart arrhythmia and is at home doing well after a recent trip to the hospital. Dan is very appreciative of Richmond Rotary’s good wishes.


  • Josh Surowitz said to watch for an email announcement about the next Richmond Rotary late-afternoon Happy Hour at La Strada and also for an upcoming meeting of the Richmond Rotary Membership Committee (which everyone’s invited to participate in).
  • Plan to hear more about Bocce Ball (aka Italian Lawn Bowling) as a team of stalwart Richmond Rotarians set out to create havoc at an upcoming tournament in Martinez.


Don Lau recognized EJ Shalaby for his Richmond Rotary anniversary, for which EJ offered some appreciative dollars.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jon Lawlis was very happy about spending the next month with his honey at her summer home on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
  • Erle Brown offered some happy dollars for the good time he had at his recent 59th high school class reunion where he actually recognized almost everyone and they all looked great!
  • Rafael Madrigal had happy dollars for pitcher Matt Cain’s recent perfect game, the first one in all of Giants baseball history.
  • Herb Cole was happy to learn that Erle graduated from high school.
  • Sid Chauvin was happy about this year being the 56th anniversary of his high school alma mater (Richmond High School) class of 1956. A reunion is to be held soon at the Boiler House Restaurant.
  • Markku Pelanne, having reached the happy milestone age of 65, reminded everyone that it was German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who introduced the concept of mid-60’s retirement back in the 1800’s.

Norm's Nonsense

More Ponderism ...
- If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. If marriages are outlawed only outlaws will have inlaws.

- If they do away with Fathers Day, how will the nation get rid of a huge surplus of neckties?"



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

Jim Young made a presentation about a proposed project that he would like to undertake with full Club support and involvement during his upcoming year as Richmond Rotary Club President. (And the project includes an international connection with the Singapore Rotary Club in Asia. Read on.)

The project would involve a partnership between Richmond Rotary and the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (EBCPA). The plan would be for the EBCPA to take a widely acclaimed local book and make it into a stage play complete with ticket sales and multiple performances in front of large audiences in the Spring of 2013.

The youth-oriented local book is “Richmond Tales: Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle”, written in 2009 by bay area author, Summer Brenner. The book cover provides this overview: “When Maisha [a young Black girl] and Mario [a young Latino boy] become friends, their adventures take them on a journey to discover the “lost secrets” of the Iron Triangle, a district of Richmond, California.”

The book is a wholesome and uplifting tale that points to better tomorrows where the power of friendship and caring overturn what some say is a natural alienation—feelings of hostility, isolation, separation, and division—associated with inner-city life. It’s about a positive sense of community (past, present, and future) that can help build up instead of tear down. The author writes, “This book is dedicated to the youth of Richmond, California—and to youth everywhere who do not yet know: there is a there there.”

Since the book came out three years ago, 4th and 5th graders in the West Contra Costa Unified School District have been reading and talking about Richmond Tales in their regular classes.

With the Richmond Rotary Club now meeting again in its namesake city, this project offers an opportunity to strengthen ties with the local community in a unique and significant way while promoting a long-standing goal of safe, non-violent families and neighborhoods.

When Jim was in Asia, he spoke to the Singapore Rotary Club about this project and they’re interested to support it (including monetarily). They see the connection to Rotary values (peace through service, etc.) and appreciate the positive human relations and goodwill associated with the project.

As some of our members pointed out during Friday’s meeting, given Richmond Rotary’s ongoing dollar outflow to worthy global projects, it only seems fitting that some international dollars would flow into a worthy Richmond project.

To make all this happen, there’s work to be done, including grant-writing and other fundraising to cover the estimated $50,000 budget, details of which are being developed. The EBCPA has already obtained script and other rights to produce this first of its kind Richmond Tales play and they’ve spoken with The California Endowment for the Arts, which has committed to a $10,000 donation with a Rotary match.

Jim emphasized that, for this project to be successful, the Club will need to organize volunteer support for various activities including rehearsals, ticket sales, and publicity.

This is an interesting and worthy project indeed!

- Rotating Editor, Tom Waller