October 25, 2019

NEXT MEETING: October 25, 2019

Richmond Police Officer's Association

Ben Therrault will give us a presentation about the labor organization that represents all Richmond Police Officers. He will speak on public safety in Richmond and about the past, present, and future of the organization.


  • Don Lau reminded members about the goal of Club 100 to reflect !00% support for our Centennial. See the sidebar to make a contribution.
  • World Polio Day is October 24. See End Polio Now.
  • Nathan Stalnaker, guest of Oscar Garcia, announced a Community Town Hall at the Craneway on Nov. 9 to organize for the establishment of a stand-alone emergency room for Richmond.
  • Also on November 9 is Team Rotary BARSHEEP walk for Alzheimers. Support your team!
  • Tracy Giles announced a Feb. 3rd Warrior Game and End Polio Now benefit. Stay tuned for details.

MEETING OF October 18, 2019


President Jan welcomed a full house at the Richmond Country Club on Friday. The pledge and invocation were led by Pam Jones and Herb Cole respectively.


Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Due to the special presentation surrounding our speaker and topic, we had many visitors:

Rafael Cartagena and Tracy Giles were both visiting from the El Cerrito Club.
Anna Blackman was the guest of Herb Cole.
Brian Fay introduced his father, Gerald Fay.
Jan Brown introduced her husband, Byron Brown.
Jan also introduced our guest speaker Flora Ninimiya and Janet Ninomiya, the sister and wife of our dearly departed 1978-79 President David Ninomiya.

Other special guests included visiting photographers from the 2010 Blossoms and Thorns Richmond Art Center exhibit: Fletcher Oakes with his wife, Barbara Speed; Ellen Gailing with her friend, Tom Schleis; and Ken Osborn. Also attending was Michele Seville, Arts and Culture Manager of the City of Richmond.

Special Events

  • Alan Baer announced that our Club’s newest member, Santa Baer (Alan’s wife), was officially inducted into our club by incoming District Governor-elect Mark Roberts at Santa and Alan’s Bahamas benefit BBQ last Saturday. Welcome Santa!
  • Pam Jones announced that Jon Lawlis received his Triple Crown Rotary Pin at the same BBQ. Jon is a rare and generous breed of Rotarian who not only gives his time to our club, but also gives to Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow, a member of the Paul Harris Society, and the Bequest Society.

Sunshine Report

  • Don Lau reported that Dan Tanita is on the mend after another visit to the hospital. He has sold his dental practice – which means he’ll join the ranks of our retired Rotarians
  • Jan Brown was sad to report that Jean Wong, wife of Charlie Wong, passed away unexpectedly last July.

Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars

Ric Ambrose led recognitions and Happy/Sad Dollars:

  • Mark Howe was recognized for 17 years as a Richmond Rotarian!
  • Tamara Shiloh announced happy $$ for being the honored keynote speaker at the NAACP Convention in Las Vegas. Her topic: “The Change I Want to See Begins With Me”. https://www.naacplasvegas.com. Tamara will also lead a Professional Teacher Development Series in Nevada; And in her spare time, she is moving her business, the Multi Cultural Children’s Bookstore to the first floor of Hilltop Mall this coming week!
  • Incoming President Stacey Street had “Breaking News” super happy $$ that she and Marshall Spights are engaged!
  • Erle Brown had happy dollars for Flora and Janet Ninomiya being our guests today, fondly remembering when David Ninomiya brought roses to our club when he was president. Erle also had happy $$ for Stacey Street’s announcement with an Erle Brown warning … “now don’t pull a Leslie Levy!” Ask Erle or Leslie what that could possibly mean.
  • Brian Fay proudly announced that his son just earned his Eagle Scout rank – the highest achievement of BSA!
  • Sid had sad $$ for the letter he received from PG&E
  • Jim Findley had more equivocal $$ about the same subject.
  • Ric Ambrose had happy/sad $$ for the upcoming retirement of Michele Seville after 16 years of being the City of Richmond’s advocate for the arts. Thank you Michele!
    And then the David Ninomiya memories continued to flow . . .
  • Pam Jones had happy memories of 2 flats of agapanthus plants landing on her front porch after asking David Ninomiya where she could find some
  • Hank Covel had fond memories of David Ninomiya’s leadership in establishing the Richmond Shimada Friendship Commission
  • Herb Cole’s happy $$ was remembering how “Werner and I used to split the purchase of a weekly dozen roses that we bid on at our annual auction.  Dave had our roses ready every Friday.  It kept me in good with Normie for years.!!!
  • Finally, Ric Ambrose and Connie Tritt jointly shared their alma mater cheer– Go Ducks!


"Blossoms and Thorns" and Japanese Roots in Richmond

Flora Ninomiya presented the movie, “Blossoms and Thorns,” about Richmond’s pre-and post-war community of flower growers and nursery owners whose lives were changed by the forced internment of Japanese citizens during World War II. At the conclusion of the movie Flora told the story of the Aebi’s (also documented in the film) who took on the care of their nursery. Francis Aebi also kept the taxes current. Many years later, as an adult, Flora would learn that the president of the small local Mechanics Bank, Edward M. Downer Jr., would quietly set aside the mortgages due for the nursery properties without telling a sole, not even his family or employees. Those acts of conscience and kindness allowed the Ninomiyas and other Japanese American families to return to Richmond at the end of the war and begin the process of recovery.


At the conclusion of the meeting, Flora and Janet were presented with long stem red roses – David Ninomiya’s favorite flower. Don Lau thanked the Ninomiya’s for their generous pledge to Richmond Rotary’s Centennial Project (see the Miraflores link).

- Jan Brown, Pinch-hitter Scribe