DIGITAL EDITION     No. 12     January 16, 2013     EDITOR: Layne Bowen     PHOTOGRAPHER: Nicole Le

Our Program For January 23rd:


Director of Development Cate Steane, program speaker


Since 1987, the Redwood Empire Food Bank has grown to meet the growing need for food assistance and has expanded to focus on providing as much healthy food as possible, including nutrition education as part of many programs to meet the needs of low-income children, seniors, and working families. The Food Bank is a primary source of food for 166 community-based charitable organizations and 249 human service programs in Sonoma County. Cate Steane, Director of Development, offers an overview of the scope and services offered by the Food Bank and will discuss other issues related to food banking.


January 30, 2013: Rotary’s Public Safety Awards
February 6, 2013:Update on World Community Service
February 13, 2013: The locally-owned Press Democrat


President Bill Rousseau called the meeting to order. The Pledge was led smoothly and without incident by Paul Hamilton. A thoughtful invocation was led by the lovely and talented Katie Barr.


Two visiting Rotarians were welcomed: From Sebastopol, in oil & gas, Henry Alker, and from our next-door-Flamingo neighbor, the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East, Jim Wieschendorf.


Today’s guests included our Elsie Allen High School honoree Ramajot Kaur, Baljit Singh, and Elsie Allen principal Mary Gail Stablein. Also in attendance were guests of Kerrie Chambers, Manuela Gonzalez and Melissa Heller.  Welcome to our guests!


Thank you to the following members who fulfilled the Fellowship positions at today’s meeting:
Raffle: Frank Hodges
Visiting Rotarians: Fred Levin
Ticket Collector: Mark Burchill
Ticket Sales: Karen Ball& Mike Kallhoff

Elsie Allen valedictorian, Remanjor Kaur

Elsie Allen valedictorian, Remanjor Kaur


High School Recognition Chair Bill Hatcher announced this month’s award is being presented to Elsie Allen’s valedictorian, Remanjor Kaur. Principal Mary Gail Stablein pointed out that while in the 11th grade, this month’s honoree had completed SSU classes in biological anthropology and cultural anthropology through EAHS’s “U.Center” and this year completed college level classes in Personal Health & Wellness, Global Environmental Issues, and is currently enrolled in Statistics. All the while maintaining a 4.70 grade point average! Her principal emphasized that the honoree had been active in Community Affairs and numerous extra-curricular activities, working at Bayer Farm since the 10th grade and the Lobo Unity Club since the 11th grade. Her volunteer activities also include active membership in Rotary’s Interact Club at Elsie Allen, as an intern volunteer at Kaiser Permanente Hospital, in the EAHS Photography Club, and Stanford’s Science Club, then as a counselor. Her career interests are in environmental justice & conservation, working with ecological refugees in underdeveloped countries like the Maldives, Nicaragua, and India. Congratulations and best wishes from the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa to Remanjor Kaur, this month’s outstanding student from Elsie Allen High School.

Elsie Allen principal Mary Gail Stablein

Elsie Allen principal Mary Gail Stablein


Mary Gail Stablein, the principal of Elsie Allen High School, thanked us personally on behalf of Christina Garcia & Alexis Vargas for the on-going financial assistance of Sonoma County’s Rotary Clubs in transporting the two cheerleaders and other injured family members to trauma center hospitals north of the border and back to Santa Rosa following the tragic automobile accident in Mexico just before Christmas.


Please check your email this weekend for a special invitation to the Elsie Allen Community Pasta Feed Fundraiser for Alexis Varga & Christina Garcia Torres, and their families Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27th  in Finley Hall at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Also, don’t miss the contribution form and a copy of a special Press Democrat report attached to the email.


Dr. Frank Hodges asked today’s guests speaker, Dr. Frank Chong, to draw a ticket for a chance at the $200 plus cash prize. As luck would have it, Dr. Chong drew his own ticket. He was less fortunate when it came to winning the pot and walked away with the $10 consolation prize. (Hey, but he got that snazzy Rotary clock/paperweight at the end of the meeting!)


News was received that Chuck Bartley’s son-in-law was seriously injured in a car accident.  Jock McNeil visited Dick Jenkins and said that he is still in kind of rough shape but can see visitors at his home. Please call first if you’d like to visit our beloved friend.

Cardinal Newman Interact members Paige Amormino and  Josh Gluch demonstrate the learning advantages of owning your own dictionary to young students at Riebli Elementary School

Cardinal Newman Interact members Paige Amormino and Josh Gluch demonstrate the learning advantages of owning your own dictionary to young students at Riebli Elementary School


This week our hardy Rotary volunteers completed the distribution of hundreds of dictionaries to all Santa Rosa third graders. In years past, this Rotary Club has always purchased these special dictionaries out-of-pocket from club funds, but this year the Santa Rosa Local Rotary Foundation was able to reimburse our club for the cost of the special third grade dictionaries, thanks to last year’s two successful fundraisers-the Giro Bello bicycle ride in July and the Casino Royale extravaganza in October.


In early 1994, the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa established Santa Rosa Public Safety Awards as part of our vocational service recognition avenue of service to honor Santa Rosa’s top law enforcement officer and firefighter at a special awards luncheon. The annual recognition for exceptional law enforcement officers and firefighters was the brainchild of veteran Rotarian Lee Abramson, a retired business executive who joined Rotary in 1976 and passed away in 2010 and the awards were renamed the Rotary Club’s Lee Abramson Public Safety Awards. The annual Public Safety Awards have become a permanent project of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa. The first awards were made in 1994 by then Police Chief Sal Rosano and the late Fire Chief Tony Pini. Attending this year’s awards ceremony will be Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm and Fire Chief Mark McCormick, the award recipients and a number of firefighters, police officers and their families. This year’s 19th annual awards luncheon will be held Wednesday at noon, January 30th in the Flamingo ballroom, attended by Rotarians, officials of Santa Rosa, and representatives the police and fire departments of Santa Rosa.


Peggy Sobranis asked that Rotarians fill out an online survey from Rotary International responding with what they liked about this Rotary Club as well as giving their opinions on how Rotary can be improved. Follow this link to take the survey:

Ted Wilmsen asked that any spare dictionaries and brochures be returned after distribution to the designated schools. Everyone should have scheduled their deliveries with the schools by now.

Veteran’s Day Tribute: Visiting Rotarian Jim Wieschendorff was on hand to speak about the Veterans Tribute Program held every November for the past 12 years. Each year, the participating clubs are asked for a deposit of $200 in case there is not enough money raised to cover the costs of the tribute. So far, that deposit has been returned yearly to each of the contributing Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. Jim has been a key member of the committee that stages the event each year.

Giro Bello! Just a reminder that there will be a Giro Bello meeting at 11am at the Flamingo before our regular Rotary meeting on Wednesday, January 23rd. All club members who are interested in helping with our club’s largest fundraiser are encouraged to come and become a part of the team!

Jose Guillen had the answer!

Jose Guillen had the answer!


Debi Zaft asked what R.I. President Sakuji Tanaka does every day to encourage all Rotarians to do to get people to ask about Rotary. Jose Guillen knew the answer was “wear your lapel pin!” President Bill, seeing an opportunity to add to Rotary coffers, fined anyone at the meeting NOT wearing a pin to donate $2 each to the cause…


President Bill used some extra free time today to do a little more fundraising (it’s a politician thing – they can’t help themselves!)

Vinay Patel, who had already lost last month’s mortgage money betting on Wisconsin vs Stanford in the Rose Bowl, continues to make bad football picks. Now he is hemorrhaging money on a team whose fans wear cheese on their heads. I didn’t catch how much this has cost him, but it has to be in the thousands of dollars. Vinay needs a new bookie!

Ted Wilmsen, through no recent work of his own, has become a grandfather for at least the 6th time. Ted donated $100 to his Paul Harris Fellowship in little Amanda’s honor, plus another $50 to the club.

Jack Abercrombie announced that his grandson has returned from Afghanistan safely. For this great news, Jack contributed $50 to the club and $50 to his Paul Harris.

Tim Delaney returned safely from a business trip in Las Vegas and made a contribution to the club.

Katie Barr acknowledged her good fortune in receiving a grant of $2,500 from our Rotary Club’s Joint Charitable Projects Committee for Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, where she serves as executive director.  Katie contributed $50 to the club as a thank you.

John McHugh recently returned from a trip to Austin (Texas, y’al) where he auditioned for Willie Nelson’s band.  Jock McNeil said that he heard John was rejected because he couldn’t sing “high enough, but Rotary won in the end when John put another $50 into his Paul Harris Fellowship…

The offer of an all expense paid Panama Canal cruise helped get Rick Allen back in touch with his daughter. Who said bribery doesn’t pay? But Rick paid $50 to the club.

Because Wayne Rowlands’ daughter is learning to drive, he decided that a Jeep was a safe bet in case she gets “off road” intentionally or unintentionally. In thanks for surviving the experience (so far), Wayne donated $50 to John Brown’s Scholarship Fund.

Finally, Bill Pederson is leaving Friday for Florida to visit his granddaughter who works for Disney Cruises. They will embark on a Caribbean cruise. I’ve always wondered – do Disney characters like Goofy and Mickey Mouse serve the poolside drinks? Report back to us, Bill!  And thank you for your $50 gift to the club.

Special thanks to all the Rotarians who told their stories and paid the price with generous donations to our club, the fellowships, and our two Rotary foundations!

Guest speaker Dr. Chong

Guest speaker Dr. Chong


Our own Steve Olsen introduced our guest speaker, Dr. Frank Chong, who recently took over as only the 5th president in the nearly 100 year history of Santa Rosa Junior College. Dr. Chong’s presentation began with a short video about Santa Rosa Junior College. The video gave several testimonials by instructors about the mission and atmosphere for learning at SRJC. Of note are the opportunities for hands on learning in areas such as viticulture at Shone Farm and the new culinary facilities where products made by students are for sale to the public. Dr. Chong addressed the question of whether a college education is worth the price by noting that the unemployment rate for those with only a high school education is over 25 per cent while the rate for those with at least a AA degree is only 7 percent. He also stated that the rate of return on investment is $4 for every dollar spent. Dr. Chong spent time discussing his experience as an administrator in an urban setting at Laney College in Oakland and then his time in Washington DC at the Department of Education. He explained that the philosophy of his boss was that the value of education is an issue that both sides of the aisle can agree on. A notable experience in Washington was a bus tour of schools with Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich. Dr. Chong answered many questions regarding the future of SRJC and highlighted the fact that SRJC is working at developing education programs to help support local industries in finding qualified workers.


Rotary Club of Santa Rosa

President: Bill Rousseau, President Elect: Peggy Soberanis, Secretary: Jack Abercrombie, Treasurer: Cecil G. Humes, Sergeant at Arms: Jack Geary

President Rotary International

Sakuji Tanaka – Rotary Club of Yasjio, Japan

Governor, District 5130

Michael Juric – Rotary Club of Windsor

Attendance Secretary

Jack Abercrombie P.O. Box 505 Santa Rosa, CA 95402 707-538-4770

Board of Directors

Matt Fannin, Jose Guillen, Paul Hamilton, Nicole Le, Diane Moresi, Vinay Patel, Robert Pierce, Carmen Sinigiani, Creed Wood, Marnie Goldschlag, Past President