NEXT MEETING: March 21, 2014
Visit to the Chevron Refinery
We will meet at Chevron, not at the Richmond Country Club
The Club will visit the Chevron Richmond Refinery on Friday for lunch and a tour of the plant. Be sure to bring a photo ID. Only those members who registered for the visit will be admitted.
Please see first Announcement item, below, for directions.
Please note that the event is from 12:00 to 2:00 PM.
- Richmond Rotary will NOT meet at the Richmond Country Club on March 21 but, instead, will enjoy lunch and a tour at the Chevron Richmond Refinery. Be sure to enter through the Main Gate, as follows. Driving in a southerly direction on the Richmond Parkway away from the Richmond Country Club towards Point Richmond, bear to the right onto “Chevron Way” just BEFORE you go under I-580 and into Point Richmond. Continue in a westward direction on Chevron Way until you come to the Main Gate, where the Guard will provide further information. Thank you, Heather Kulp!
- Visiting Rotary District 5160 Governor-Elect, Pam Gray, said the annual District Conference will take place this year in Reno, NV, over the Halloween weekend. More information to follow.
- Pam Gray also reminded everyone about the three Rotary District Assemblies (half-day training seminars) coming up in March, April, and May. Each one is the same (8:00am to 2:00pm on a Saturday) so you only need to attend one based on your schedule availability. Besides great information and camaraderie, there’s food and coffee. And it’s all at no cost. Dates and locations are as follows: Central Assembly, Butte College, Oroville, March 22; North Assembly, Shasta College, Redding, April 5; South Assembly, Solano College, Vallejo, May 3. Look for a broadcast email with registration links being sent to all District Rotarians (or check for information on the District 5160 web site).
- Nikki Basas is the Salesian High School junior who recently won the Richmond Rotary Club 4-Way Test speech contest. She will compete against the El Cerrito Rotary Club speech contest winner in the BARSHEEP area runoff on Thursday, April 3, during the regular weekly noon meeting of the El Cerrito Rotary Club, which meets at the Mira Vista Golf & Country Club. Let’s be sure to have a strong showing of Richmond Rotarians at that meeting to support Nikki.
MEETING OF March 14, 2014
President Liliane Koziol called the meeting to order at the Richmond Country Club. Herb Cole led the pledge of allegiance and Stoney Stonework asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Sid Chauvin offered this thought for the day: The chief cause of failure is trading what you want most for what you want now.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
- Pam Gray, Rotary District 5160 Governor-Elect, and her husband, Brian, were visiting from Paradise, CA (just east of Chico).
- Jeff Mulvihill is a (now regular) visiting Rotarian from the Redding Rotary Club.
- Fred Collignon was visiting from the Berkeley Rotary Club.
- Sid Chauvin had three guests: his wife, Zelpha; his son-in-law’s mother, Marcia Yanagi (visiting from Hawaii), and his grandson, Zachary Johnson (quite a bit cuter than Sid).
- Jim Young’s guest was Sean Krogh, an entrepreneur working in Point Richmond.
Recognitions and Happy/Sad Dollars
- Tanned and fresh upon returning from weeks (was it months?) in Puerto Vallarta, Erle Brown was belatedly recognized for his 79th birthday, which occurred on February 23. He provided contributions to both the Rotary Foundation and the Rehfuss Fund. Erle also quickly tossed in some happy dollars for the enjoyable vacation, confessed that it’s good to be back, and expressed amazement at Jon Lawlis’ uncanny ability to leave Mexico “whiter” than when he arrived.
- Two Richmond Rotary members were recognized for their March Club anniversaries: David Brown (20 years) and George Egan (16 years). Congratulations!
- Jim Young was happy on two counts: that he and Linda didn’t fly on Malaysia Airlines while recently in Asia and that he’s glad to see Stoney upon his return from Rotary PETS (President Elect Training Session).
- Nick Despota was happy with the recent birding experience, wherein he led a small but dedicated group of Holiday Auction-item bidders to Coyote Hills Regional Park. He reported that the marsh areas of the park were very dry, and they spotted significantly fewer birds than in previous years.
- Josh Genser was happy to be one of the participants on Nick’s latest birding trip (Josh’s third one) and he urged others to plan to bid on the item in this year’s Holiday Auction so Nick is encouraged to keep doing it.
- Markku Pelanne offered a couple of happy dollars in search of quick legal advice about whether it’s proper that he continue pledging allegiance to the USA flag after 33 years of still not being a USA citizen. Lawyers in the house quickly pointed out that $2 is hardly enough to garner a legal opinion on anything.
- Fred Collignon put some happy dollars into the pot because, now that PETS is over, his current duties as Assistant Governor (AG) for the eight BARSHEEP area Clubs are nearing an end. Fred will be handing off the AG baton to our own Alan Baer.
- Herb Cole gave up some happy-sad dollars, happy because of his granddaughter’s 21st birthday last weekend in Bakersfield and yet sad because he (once again) was reminded that he’s getting old.
- Alan Blavins is happy he’s going fishing with his son who is in town visiting.
- Sid Chauvin recounted some recently tense personal moments for him and his family that seem (happily) to be coming out ok. It all began with his daughter being taken to the hospital ICU in late February with what was later diagnosed as neuro-leptic malignant syndrome (when medications turn on you). Sid appreciatively remembers an Asian hospital staffer who paid close attention to his daughter’s tubes and other connections for several hours through the night, doing what was necessary for her to stabilize and to now await a near-term transfer to a special-care facility.
- Joe Bagley had happy dollars for the thoughtfulness of Richmond Rotarians as Joe’s wife, Rita, recently lost her mom.
- Stoney offered up happy dollars for his enjoyable time at PETS (see definition above), which was held in San Jose last weekend. At the event, there were about 450 Rotarians from all over California and Hawaii, most of them being there as elected Club Presidents in training. There were inspiring speakers, three days of classes, and late-night hospitality suites. There was even a gallery of homemade wall posters, one from each Club’s Board of Directors with witty aphorisms and words of encouragement to their elected President. Liliane made sure the Richmond Club’s poster had a prominent photo of Stoney in his youthful prime – with a lot of hair (OMG). It’s Stoney’s second go-around at PETS since he previously served as Richmond Rotary Club President in 2003-04.
An old Irish toast…
May you have food and raiment,
A soft pillow for your head,
May you be forty years in heaven
Before the devil knows you’re dead!
Connie Tritt introduced Charles Anderson as program speaker. Charles, who lives locally, has had an interesting career trajectory that began in information technology but is now settled where his true passions lie – in professional photography for the last 12 years as well as continued extracurricular involvement in theater arts and music.
He might even have a future in stand-up comedy. When encouraged to use the microphone during this Rotary presentation, he fumbled at first with the mic and then said, “Well, the only difference between me and a ham is that I can’t be cured.”
Charles went on to tell us how technology is really pushing fast into video production by the increasing use of small, radio-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) equipped with precision cameras. This development is allowing small businesses like his to dramatically increase capabilities to deliver high-quality photo and video services at a low cost.
He brought a couple of UAVs with him but couldn’t be goaded into lighting one up in the dining room. He did show us a couple of videos from low-level flight sessions he has done and they were truly stunning in terms of stability, beauty from a birds-eye viewpoint, and precision maneuverability.
An important accessory in this work is what are called “FPV Goggles” (FPV = first person view), which have tiny video screens inside the goggles that enable the wearer to remotely steer the UAV and operate the camera.
There are a lot of technological improvements that still need to be made, like increasing the range of remote radio control (currently a few hundred meters) and the life of power batteries (currently less than 20 minutes flight time). And, of course, the regulators still need to write the rules to make UAVs fully viable for commercial use. But the future looks bright. Charles has seen estimates that this business sector will soon be generating more than $80 billion per year.
Just think of all the applications, from tourism to large-scale real estate sales to land management to forestry consulting to environmental surveys, etc. etc.
- Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe