NEXT MEETING: January 11, 2013
Honda of El Cerrito
In our occasional series about Making a Buck & Running a Business in West County, Scott Vickery, General Sales Manager of Honda of El Cerrito will visit Richmond Rotary to discuss the modern, 21st Century, automobile dealership. Forgive Scott if he focuses on Honda and the Hendrick Automotive Group which owns Honda of El Cerrito, but regardless of vehicle types, the modern automobile dealership is not your grandfather’s gasoline ally.
MEETING OF January 4, 2013
Jim Young, Club President, called the meeting to order by the traditional ringing of the bell and welcomed Rotarians and guests alike. Don Lau led the Pledge of Allegiance after which Stoney Stonework asked for a moment of silence for “freedom, peace, and justice on earth”. Henry Kelman, gave us the “thought of the day” by informing everyone that the stock market is up and welcome to 2013!
Rotarians with guests
Tom Waller introduced and welcomed Jim Etherington of Concord, today’s speaker, along with Officers Andre Hill and Joey Schlemmer of the Richmond Police Department. Jon Lawlis introduced his “sweetheart/darling” (his words, not mine), Darlene Quinuiane. Jim Young introduced and welcomed Nancy Lewis and Melanie Meyers who will make a brief presentation about the Solano Playlot and the upcoming tree planting project.
- E.J. Shalaby announced that construction on the RotoCare Clinic is now complete and that a permit is all that is needed to open for business. The Grand Opening has been scheduled for mid-February and Rotaract members have volunteered to donate and deliver food to the clinic on Tuesday evenings. Anyone interested in participating in the food donation project for the RotoCare Clinic should contact E.J.
- Jim announced that the Treasurer’s report at the most recent Board meeting indicates that the club is in healthy financial shape. Gross assets are at $120,000 with net revenues of $44,600. He noted that the Club will begin spending these dollars on worthy projects throughout the community. These may include the Building Together Project; transferring the computer learning licenses to PAL; and support of the Peace Garden started by Mark Howe during his presidency, to name a few possibilities.
- Jim also announced that there are several BARSHEEP events upcoming including the St. Patrick’s Day party on March 16th; a Four-Way Test speech contest that we’ve been asked to sponsor along with El Cerrito; and a “no-risk/no-cost” concert with Lacy Dalton on May 2nd.
- Felix Hunziker, point person for the Solano Playlot tree project announced that the upcoming workday is scheduled for January 19th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. This project will involve putting the final touches on the playlot renovation by planting trees. Bring your gloves. Tools and healthy refreshments will be provided!
- Jim announced that anyone out and about should consider publicizing the Richmond Rotary Club by taking a banner and visiting other clubs wherever they may be. A special Rotary “app” can tell you about scheduled club meetings within 10 miles of where you are at any given moment.
- Jim then asked Nancy Lewis and Melanie Meyers to talk about the Solano Playlot project. The project was initiated in April of 2010 when members of the surrounding community decided to see if there was enough community interest to revive and renovate the park. The park is located on 38th St. at cross streets Boyd and Solano. It was neglected, dangerous, and deserted with play equipment from the 1950’s. Nancy and Melanie organized an egg hunt/spring celebration in 2010 to see if there would be any interest and over 200 members of the community showed up! With County and City funding, the park was redesigned and renovated and is now a vibrant focal point of the community. Pedestrian safety remains an issue and the neighborhood group is working with the city to devise a safety plan for the area. The last touch to the park itself, however, is the planting of trees. Six trees have been selected and ordered and another eight will be planted on the properties of homeowners whose properties surround the park. Our club has donated to the project and volunteers are requested to be present at the January 19th tree planting day.
Happy and Sad Dollars
Joe Bagley had five sad dollars for missing the Rotary holiday party. He claims he was at a Cuchas(?), a Lithuanian holiday event – likely story!
Jon Lawlis wins the Happy Dollar contribution for the week award. He gave one hundred happy dollars as his sweetheart Darlene accepted his marriage proposal which was delivered on Christmas Eve! Congratulations to Jon and Darlene! He also started a Paul Harris fellowship in Darlene’s name with a $100 donation.
Henry Moe gave five happy dollars to celebrate the nationally ranked Salesian basketball team which will play in Wheeling, WV this coming Saturday and which will be broadcast on ESPN-U.
Stoney then threw in a bad joke for good measure and he didn’t even pay anything for the privilege!
Two fellows were sitting in a coffee shop, when suddenly the town’s fire alarm went off. One jumped up and headed for the door.
His friend shouted, “Hey Tom, I didn’t know you were a fireman!”
Tom replied, “I’m not, but my girlfriend’s husband is.”
Every 15 Minutes
Jim Etherington presented a moving description of the “Every 15 Minutes” program that has been presented in Concord and Clayton Valley High Schools since 2002. The project is funded by the California Highway Patrol and private donations, and is put on by police departments, the CHP, and community volunteers. Its purpose is to help students understand the realities and consequences of driving under the influence.
Jim plays the Grim Reaper and begins the two-day event by entering classrooms in full reaper costume. When he enters each classroom, he says nothing, but a student who has been pre-selected, and with parental consent, gets up and leaves the classroom. No words are spoken by either Jim or the student. The Reaper leaves a red rose on the student’s desk and leaves. Following the departure of the Reaper, the county coroner and a member of the police department or CHP enter the room and read the obituary for the student. They then remove the student’s belongings and leave the room. Later that morning, the students assemble at the football field where two wrecked automobiles emitting smoke have been placed. The participating students have had make-up and realistic injuries applied and they have been placed as if an horrific accident has just taken place. One of the students is alert enough to call 911. All dialogue at the “scene” is heard over the loudspeaker system at the field. The CHP, fire department, and paramedics arrive. One of the students is “dead” and is covered by the paramedics and carried off. Another is tested for intoxication and arrested for driving under the influence. The jaws of life are used to remove all of the other participating students from the vehicles and one is prepared for transport by helicopter. A CalStar medical evacuation helicopter flies into the field, lands, and transports the “victim” to John Muir Hospital. Once at the hospital, the “victim” is treated just as if it were a real “code blue” accident. Officers inform parents at their home or place of work of their child’s death or severe injury—everything takes place as it would during a real event. Other victims are transported by ambulance to Martinez hospital. Participating students are not seen by friends or family members until the end of the event on Day Two.
On Day Two of the event a memorial service is held in the school gym where a coffin has been laid. The severely injured accident victims arrive in wheelchairs. During the memorial the survivors read letters they’ve written to their parents expressing what they would say to their parents if they hadn’t survived the accident. At the end of service, a nationally recognized speaker who lost his younger brother, riding with him when he was driving under the influence, speaks to the students. At the end of Day Two, participating students are reunited with their parents and students are asked to write pledges about what they’ve experienced or learned from the event. Ultimately, the goal is to get youth to make good choices.
The next event will be held in April at Concord High School. Anyone interested in joining the planning meetings or coming to the event itself, should contact Tom Waller.
Lynn Martin, Rotating Editor