NEXT MEETING: January 10, 2014
Club is Dark on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3
Building Strong Communities
We will hear from Antwon Cloird, founder and director of “Men and Women of Purpose”, a Richmond-based nonprofit that offers programs aimed at reducing violence, recidivism, homelessness, drug abuse and chronic unemployment.
- Hank Covell has spoken with Charlie Wong and Ralph Hill. Both are doing well and pass along holiday greetings to all.
- President Liliane Koziol again confirmed that it was a blockbuster Holiday Auction this year with over $22,000 in revenue raised for the Club’s service projects.
- Funds have been successfully raised for purchasing two Vespa scooters to be used in Bangladesh for women trainers traveling to remote villages to help with education programs about safe drinking water practices.
- The annual Richmond and El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Giveaway at the West Contra Costa YMCA on Saturday, December 21, was a great success. Food and toys (including more than 250 assembled bikes made possible by generous Rotarians and friends) were provided to local needy families. The following Rotarians were on hand to help out on Saturday: Liliane Koziol, Don Lau, Heather Kulp (and hubby), Josh Genser, Pam Jones, and Jim Young. Check out this video from TV Channel 2 news coverage.
- Don’t forget about the Rotary District 5160 online Trading Post, where fellow Rotarians can post information about buying and selling goods and services. Here’s the link.
- Connie Tritt reminded everyone to consider year-end contributions to the Rotary Foundation. There are eight Richmond Rotarians within $200 of their next Paul Harris Award. During the upcoming District Governor’s visit on February 7, there will be a special recognition for new Paul Harris Award recipients.
- As previously announced, the Richmond Country Club is opening its facilities to local business and other organizational meetings when reservations are made in advance.
- Barbara McCullough, Executive Director of Brighter Beginnings, the East Bay multi-site non-profit that hosts the RotaCare Richmond Free Medical Clinic on Macdonald Avenue, made a special visit to thank the Richmond Rotary Club, its current President, and immediate Past President for the support provided over the past year to help start up and successfully operate the RotaCare Clinic in Richmond.
MEETING OF December 20, 2013
President Liliane Koziol called the meeting to order at the Richmond Country Club. Ethan Heinrich led the pledge of allegiance and Bob Dabney asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Alan Blavins offered this thought for the day: It is better to have loved a short person than never to have loved a tall.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
- Bob Buhlis is a current member and Past President of the Nevada City Rotary Club in Nevada. He’s a graduate of Richmond High School.
- Mac Lingo is from the Berkeley Rotary Club.
- Barbara McCullough is a member of Oakland Rotary and Executive Director of Brighter Beginnings.
- Rich Alexander introduced his friend and guest, Brian Stern, “the oldest lawyer in [Rich’s] office building.”
Recognitions and Happy/Sad Dollars
- Mike Winter was recognized for his 78th birthday, which occurred on December 15. Family members took him out for a nice dinner at Trader Vic’s.
- Alan Baer’s birthday is on Christmas Day. And he’s married to Santa. Really.
- Rafael Madrigal celebrated his 50th birthday recently and (finally) became engaged to Jennifer.
- Hank Covell celebrated 55 years of marriage on December 21 although he and his bride have been holding hands for 61 years, since they first met at the YMCA.
- Jim Young had happy dollars about the economy getting better and sad dollars about Jan Brown’s mother, Betty Hardison, being at Doctor’s Hospital with complications from pneumonia. (Good news: Betty is home from the hospital and doing better each day.)
- Mark Howe was happy about the beautiful artistic sketch of his girlfriend’s dog, which was done by our own artist and fisher extraordinaire, Alan Blavins.
- Glenn Daggs, who says he may be able to attend more meetings in the New Year, was happy about his daughter’s 14th birthday.
- Dan Sanders was happy about the visit of his grandniece from Prescott, AZ.
- Herb Cole had some happy dollars after he and Normie just returned from their annual pilgrimage to New York City. He couldn’t help but notice that it was easier walking around the Big Apple at age 65 as compared to 75. Slippery conditions due to a big snow storm didn’t help.
- David Brown, speaking for both himself and his wife, Cheryl, after the recent loss of their son, expressed deep gratitude for all the cards, caring thoughts, and “love of the community”.
Quotes from W.C. Fields…
– How well I remember my first encounter with the Devil’s Brew. I happened to stumble across a case of bourbon — and went right on stumbling for several days thereafter.
– Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.
– Asked if he believed in clubs for women, Fields responded: “Yes, if every other form of persuasion fails.”
Rodney "Alamo" Brown and the talent of Richmond
Pam Jones introduced Rodney “Alamo” Brown, a book author and former rap artist living in Richmond as a single parent of two young daughters (one currently in South Africa on a church project and the other attending the Oakland School of the Arts).
An affable, well-spoken and engaging 47-year-old story-teller, Rodney started out by announcing that he was broadcasting his remarks live via a special cell-phone-enabled connection to over 100 countries on his “Alamo Speaks” radio program. (Needless to say, not all our speakers do that.)
Rodney grew up in the Pullman Housing Projects in South Richmond. Before age 20, he had established his own record label, “Globetown Records”, thanks in part to a chance encounter with Peter, son of billionaire Warren Buffet.
A couple of years after graduating from Kennedy High School in 1984, Rodney released a hip-hop record titled ”The Task Force”, which sold more than 70,000 copies and featured in verse some of the deeds and adventures of Glenn Daggs and Enos Johnson, who were police officers at the time.
We heard other highlights of Rodney’s whirlwind life journey, including attendance at Contra Costa College, the almost-baseball-career with the Toronto Blue Jays, escapades involving his girlfriend and travels to and from Hawaii, recovery from drugs and alcohol addiction, and cutting hair (“barbering saved my life”).
Rodney’s new book, “If My Eyes Could Rewind: The Real Richmond, California Story”, is a collection of several dozen profiles of talented Richmond residents. The book is organized into five chapters, each named after a prominent local street, and has more than 60 original photos from around the city.
Rodney is also promoting “Cops and Robbers”, a close friend’s one-man play that takes a revolutionary look into the relationship between law enforcement, the media, and the community. The play was performed in Oakland last Spring and was sponsored in part by the Oakland Rotary Club. Visiting Oakland Rotarian, Barbara McCullough, spoke highly of the play and its message. There is a possibility of the play coming to Richmond at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts sometime in the first quarter of 2014. The Richmond Rotary Board is considering a request for some financial support. Click here for a short video clip about the play.
Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe