DIGITAL EDITION     No. 13     January 23, 2013     EDITOR: Layne Bowen/Jim Johnson     PHOTOGRAPHER: Nicole Le

Our Program For January 30th:


The Lee E. Abramson Santa Rosa Rotary Public Safety Awards 

Since 1994, our Rotary Club has recognized and honored Santa Rosa’s top law enforcement officers and firefighters who protect and serve the people of Santa Rosa. After 18 consecutive years the annual recognition for exceptional law enforcement officers and firefighters are an integral part of the internal culture of the public safety organizations and personnel. Attending the awards ceremony will be Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm, Fire Chief Mark McCormick, firefighters, police officers, their families and, of course, the recipients of the awards, our fellow Rotarians and their guests. Because of the larger than usual attendance, you may want to arrive between 11:30 am & 12 noon.


February 6, 2013:   The Beauty of Rotary’s Rotoplast
February 13, 2013: Press Democrat CEO Steve Falk
February 20, 2013: World Community Service Update

Matt Everson gives the Invocation

Matt Everson gives the Invocation


In the absence of President Bill Rousseau future club president Mark Burchill—sporting a very cool tie—got his “Baptism of Fire” and called the meeting to order. Jock McNeill, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, live & certified to contain no pre-recorded “lip synching”.  As today’s invocation, Matt Everson quoted either Mahatma Gandhi or Yogi Berra. (Those two are frequently confused.)


Gary Vice introduced today’s visiting Rotarians. Henry Alker visiting from Sebastopol for the second week in a row and all the way from Salt Lake City fellow Rotarian Linda Bonar. Linda and her husband have purchased a home in Santa Rosa and will be splitting time between Sonoma County and Salt Lake in their retirement. Welcome back any time, Linda!


Kerrie Chamber’s  frequent guest was Manuela Gonzalez from Rabobank. Kerrie continues her personal quest for new members with  Manuela turning in an application to join our merry little group. Acting president Mark Burchill brought along his own personal support group for his trial run at the podium—spouse & significant other Mel Konrad. Ditto for Red Badger Shannon O’Connell who skated through her Red Badge Craft Talk with the support of her husband, George McConnell, not to mention Shannon’s own mother, Red Badge Rotarian Jane Duggan, smiling with motherly pride from the audience. Program chair Matt Everson introduced today’s guest speaker, Cate Steane, Director of Development at the Redwood Empire Food Bank. A warm Rotary welcome to all our guests!


Thank you to the following members who fulfilled the Fellowship positions at today’s meeting:
Raffle: Craig Meltzner
Visiting Rotarians: Gary Vice
Ticket Collector: Carrie Ludke
Ticket Sales: Chip Rawson
Greeter: Frank Hodges

Tim Fawcett's Rotary moment

Tim Fawcett’s Rotary moment


Tim Fawcett, a steady member of this Rotary Club since 1996, is back from his recent absence to announce his new affiliation with Keller Williams Real Estate, taking the opportunity to express his strong support of Rotary Means Business and RMB’s benefits to Rotarians and the entire business community.


Robert Pierce announced that Steve Olsen is now the proud owner of a new hip. This might be a good time to challenge Steve to a game of golf, Wally, (before he is fully recovered!) And Robert reminded everyone how much we all miss the ailing Dick Jenkins and how much Dick appreciates those visits and phone calls to his home.

Robert Pierce concentrates as he chooses a card

Robert Pierce concentrates as he chooses a card


Craig Meltzner offered $297 as today’s Raffle Jackpot, but Robert Pierce could only earn the $10 prize for winning the Monopoly beauty contest portion.  It did not help that Craig reported the odds against him were one to 25. Better luck next Wednesday, when the prize should be in excess of $300!


Last Wednesday morning prior to our Rotary meeting at the Flamingo Hotel, this year’s chair of the 2013 Giro Bello charity cycling event, Doug Johnsonmet with 17 Rotary volunteers  dedicated to the success of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa’s 3rd annual fundraising cycling event in Sonoma County. The Giro Bello event began in 2011 with 550 registered cyclists, and netted $20,000 to help fund community projects for that Rotary Year.  One year later, it grew to 750 registered cyclists riding one of the three beautiful rides through Sonoma County’s picturesque hills, valleys, and towering trees, generating $50,000 to fund Rotary projects during the last half of 2012 and the first half of 2013.

2giro-bello-logoFor the third annual Giro Bello set for July 6th, we are planning for more than 1,000 riders, participating in three rides—the 30 mile Fun Ride, the 70 mile Metric Century, and the 100 mile Century Ride. If we can meet our goal, we anticipate the capability to fund close to $75,000 for new and on-going community grants and projects benefitting thousands of Santa Rosa families and children. Registration to ride opens this Monday morning at 10 am, January 28th.

We are not kidding ourselves. To start with over 500 cyclists the first year, grow 50 percent last year, then target 50 percent again in 2013 is going to take great organization and many volunteers—inside and outside Rotary—with everyone’s full support. Giro Bello needs you! Visit GIROBELLO.COM today. Learn more about this exciting opportunity. Decide what will be the most fun for you, your family and friends, and what you can do to help the most. The Giro Bello website is best for info and registration; those interested in helping should email Doug Johnson at, or contact him at 707-849-6429.

Shannon McConnell

Shannon McConnell


In her quest to get rid of that red badge and earn the coveted blue badge that all the cool kids are wearing, Shannon McConnell shared her story with us.  A Santa Rosa native, Shannon has been a ballerina since her early years and became quite accomplished. She attended Ursuline and Santa Rosa High Schools. Shannon broke into the telecom industry starting at ATG and in 2006 she was hired by where she received four promotions in only six years, including a recent promotion to Sonic’s Northern California Sales Manager for Sonic. She wrapped it up confirming that she is happily married to husband George with one son, “George the 4th”. Honest!


Jose Guillen passed out flyers and urged us to join the Elsie Allen High School Community in continuing our support of Alexis Vargas and Cristina Garcia Torres, the two girls who were seriously injured in an auto accident in Mexico, two days before Christmas.  They are home now, but still recovering. A pasta feed and silent auction will be held this Sunday afternoon from 2 pm to 6 pm at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds’ Finley Hall, January 27,  to help pay for the medical expenses of the two young cheerleaders.

Peggy Soberanis again asked that Rotarians take the online survey you received last week. Tell us what you like about Rotary as well as sharing your opinions on how Rotary can be improved.

Past President David Brown is again is selling squares for the Super Bowl. Contract Dave if you’re interested and “GO NINERS!” Played in New Orleans, on Sunday, Feb. 3 starting at 3:30 pm (Santa Rosa time). Warning: Purchases must be made before kickoff. While this specific venture will benefit our Rotary club, it does contain some financial risk for participants.

Ted Wilmsen again reminded the huddled masses to return all spare dictionaries and brochures after distribution to the designated schools.   .


Unaccustomed as he was to being Rotary president, Future President Mark Burchill asked for volunteers to admit to long vacations or other wrongdoing for $15 a pop (or two for $25).

Layne Bowen admitted to exaggerating (i.e. lying) about Tim Delaney’s Las Vegas business trip in last week’s Santa Rosarian. Tim did not, nor has he ever, attended a porn convention. While he was at it, Layne also admitted that John McHugh didn’t really try out for Willie Nelson’s band while visiting Austin, Texas, (but it would have been really cool, though, if he had!)

Jackie McMillan ‘fessed up that she went on a holiday vacation  to Puerto Vallarta, obviously with the wrong friends, who must have infected her with some dread Texas germs.

Jack Tolin

Jack Tolin

Karen Ball was recognized for being selected as Affiliate of the Year. She also confessed that she is celebrating her 32nd wedding anniversary.

Finally, Dr. Jack “pretty in pink” Tolin told us that he will be heading to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. 5,000 miles in a stretch limo complete with a uniformed chauffer? We didn’t get the details about his wearing pink – but you can never predict what might happen next between the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.


Within minutes after being introduced by her friend Cathy Vicini, Redwood Empire Food Bank’s Development Director let us know that big changes were underway at the food bank. Last fall they broke ground for the food bank’s new home on Brickway Drive. The $9 million 60,000 square foot facility represents a landmark moment for the 25 year old food bank that may meet the North Bay’s food needs for years. Cate Steane reminded us that this is a need that continues to grow with the number of Sonoma County families & individuals served by the Food Bank increased 45 percent in the last five years, a demand that increased another 11 percent in the last two years, providing food to 78,000 people—almost half of them children—each month. Cate said they hope the new facility will be open  for business within the next few months. 


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