DIGITAL EDITION   No. 68    March 19, 2014     EDITOR: Layne Bowen     PHOTOGRAPHER: Kris Anderson

Our Program For March 26th


charles-fosseThis week’s program will be a presentation of the United States Coast Guard by Petaluma Training Center’s Commanding Officer Captain Charles Fosse. Captain Fosse assumed the duties as Commanding Officer, Training Center Petaluma in May, 2013.  He leads a talented staff of over 500 active duty, civilian, and contract employees who deliver training and provide base support functions for 7 apprentice A-schools and 26 advanced C-schools impacting over 15,000 resident and non-resident students a year. Prior to reporting to Petaluma, Captain Fosse completed a one-year fellowship with the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute in Arlington, Virginia serving as the Coast Guard liaison and subject matter expert, linking the Institute’s analysis agenda with Coast Guard program requirements, while completing Coast Guard Senior Service School requirements.


April 2: Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Strategic Plan Assembly


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President Peggy welcomed all present to the FINEST Rotary Club in District 5130. The pledge was led by Sam McMillan. Ryan Thomas then gave the invocation reviewing Item #2 in the 4-Way Test: Is it fair to all concerned?  While space doesn’t allow for the entire text of Ryan’s invocation, a couple of salient points were made: “People may not remember exactly what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”  After a short prayer, he closed with a quote from H. Jackson Brown Jr. ,”Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.”   


Tim Delaney presided over visiting Rotarians. Today, we only had one visitor from another club, Michael Fish, from Ignacio.


Today’s guests included Lindsey Fish and Ryan Thomas’ daughter Jocelyn.


Blaine Goodwin tried, but was unable to give away the pot ‘o gold to Don McMillan here in the week ‘o the Irish. Instead, Don walked away with the $10 consolation prize.

Debi Zaft

Debi Zaft, Bart Eddy and Karen Ball


Well the stars finally aligned just right, and Bart Eddy was introduced by Debi Zaft as our newest Santa Rosa Rotary Club member and given his Rotary package. Bart was sponsored into the club by Karen Ball.


Debi Zaft presided over today’s Magazine question regarding literacy and one Rotarian’s account of how he learned to read upside down. The question was answered successfully by Don McMillan.[divider_line type=”divider_blank” el_position=”first last”]


Knick Knickerbocker and Jim Johnson

Knick Knickerbocker and Jim Johnson

Occasionally, our club likes to recognize and honor one of our past presidents or senior members who have accomplished so much in their lives. Too often, our younger members don’t know the history of these veteran club members, so it is good for them to hear “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey used to say. (If you don’t know who Paul Harvey is, just ask someone in the club who was born before 1960.)

Today, our club recognized the many accomplishments of one of our esteemed active members, Herman “Knick” Knickerbocker. Jim Johnson recounted Knick’s many accomplishments. The full story of Knick’s impressive professional life is printed at the end of this bulletin.    [divider_line type=”blank”]


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  • Julia Parranto

    Julia Parranto urges Rotarians to share the Giro Bello on Facebook

    President Peggy announced that Giro Bello registrations are far ahead of last year. Last year at this time only about 100 registrations had been received. So far this year, we have 305 registrants. According to Jackie McMillan, 168 of those are new registrants. This tells us that in its fourth year, the Giro Bello is gaining recognition as a premier cycling event in northern California.  Already, we have collected nearly $25,000 and appear well on the way to reaching our goal of netting $70,000. Club members are encouraged to help and be a part of this successful and fun event. Julia Parranto asked all those on Facebook  to go to the Giro Bello site and share it as a promotion tool.

  • Sam McMillan shared the thank you letter from an Olivet School student who also sent along a can of pennies to help Rotary in our worldwide polio eradication efforts. Especially touching since this student was not from an affluent district.[divider_line type=”blank”]
  • Cathy Vicini

    Cathy Vicini

    Cathy Vicini announced that the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa will hold a special evening social meeting on Wednesday evening, April 23, hosted by Cathy & Debra Dorfman—an evening Rotary meeting (claimed by Cathy  to be a “Never Before for our Rotary Club” meeting to be held at the Flamingo Resort Hotel.


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  • Greg Johnston was recognized for hosting a social last week at his home. Greg served his famous pulled pork.
  • Craig Meltzner was recognized for his trip to Israel, which he described as a very first world country full of interesting sites and people. Craig paid $100 to his daughter’s Paul Harris. Good work, Craig!
  • Fred Levin recently spent six weeks in Florida visiting his ailing sister. Fred generously donated $100 to the John Brown Scholarship fund in recognition.



Kris Anderson introduced today’s speaker, Jon Bixler of Bella Rosa Coffee Company. Mr. Bixler generously provided samples of several different coffees to share with the club.  Bella Rosa is the definition of buying  local. During the course of his presentation, Jon explained that he does not ship coffee out of the area. His sales are limited strictly to North Bay stores and only then to local outlets. His coffees are for sale only in locally owned stores such as Oliver’s Market, Molsberry Market, and Community Markets and specifically NOT to large national chains such as Whole Foods and Sprouts. It was noted by Tom Scott of Oliver’s that Bella Rosa coffee outsells it’s competitors by a 2:1 ratio. In addition, Bella Rosa coffees are also sold in forty some odd area restaurants.

John Bixler with Bella Rosa Coffee

Jon Bixler with a selection of Bella Rosa coffees

Jon shared many interesting secrets and facts about the coffee market. His coffees are roasted in a one of a kind hot air roasting machine in a location on Skylane Blvd. in Santa Rosa. He is dedicated to roasting coffee using sustainable techniques. All Bella Rosa coffee is shade grown. Noting that the large coffee house chains sign growers to a restrictive multi- year contract that basically enslaves the growers, Jon said that the sustainable shade grown coffee producers he deals with are less than 5% of the total number of growers. He told the story of a small woman he works with in Ethiopia who pays 3 x the market rate to growers in her region and has also funded a hospital as well as an AIDS program.  In addition, he wants to know that workers, especially young women, are treated well on the coffee plantations.

Some coffee facts Jon Shared:

  1. Lighter roast coffees tend to be higher in caffeine than darker roasts. Caffeine is reduced by longer roast times.
  2. He also described a couple of different methods of decaffeinating coffee.  The method he uses is soaking the beans and cleaning off the caffeine under pressurized water.
  3. Caffeine removed from coffee is a primary ingredient in energy drinks such as Red Bull and Rock Star.


In honor of our Past Presidents who have given their time and talents to serve this club, did President Peggy closed with a quote from Gandhi? Nope. Churchill? Nuh – uh.. No this quote is from David Letterman, “If it weren’t for coffee, I’d have no discernable personality at all!”


Pledge: Sam McMillan
Ryan Thomas
Ticket Sales: Chip Rawson & Jackie McMillan
Ticket Collector: Jock McNeil
Greeters:  John McHugh & Jack Atkin
Raffle: Blaine Goodwin & Craig Meltzner
Visiting Rotarians: Tim Delaney             


By Jim Johnson

More than half a century after flying one hundred combat missions over North Korea as an F-86 jet fighter pilot, then after the Korean War flying as a test pilot for the U. S. Navy, Knick Knickerbocker vividly recalls the endless hours he spent hurdling through space miles above this old earth at sub-sonic speed. It was in the early days of high speed jet fighters and deadly Air Force bombers powered by the new jet engines and for forty years, from the mid-1940s until his retirement, Knick virtually lived in the skies overhead in the service of his country…flying airplanes, testing experimental aircraft, and helping build the United States Air Force. In 1990, Herman (Knick) Knickerbocker retired from his long Air Force career as a flight test engineer at McDonnell Aircraft; and as the chief test pilot for all military and commercial test programs for the U. S. aviation industry. He and his wife Camille moved to Santa Rosa, California, and finally settled down.

Herman "Knick" Knickerbocker

Herman “Knick” Knickerbocker

That was back in 1990. Almost 25 years later, Knick Knickerbocker is a mainstay and a familiar face at Sonoma County’s largest and oldest Rotary Club, as he welcomes Rotarians and guests to another meeting of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa, founded 92 years ago as one of the first Rotary Clubs on the northern California coast.

In addition to his volunteer duties on the club’s Sergeant-at-Arms Committee, Knick has been instrumental into organizing the Salute to Veterans that every year overflows the cavernous Memorial Auditorium across the freeway from the County Fairgrounds. Knickerbocker’s dedication to military service is still evident in his on-going affection for those who serve. He had joined the U.S. Air Force in 1948.  Just two years later, in June 1950, the Communist forces of China and North Korean invaded South Korea…and the Korean War was underway with  Knick Knickerbocker flying F-86 and A-4 jet fighters against top-notch pilots from North Korea,  and Communist China, with aircraft and pilots unofficially provided mostly by the then aggressively powerful Soviet Union

By midsummer of 1953, a full-scale war was underway when the Communist Forces of North Korea (officially referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) invaded the peaceful Republic of South Korea, triggering the involvement of the United States and the armed forces of the United Nations. After many months of vicious and bloody fighting between North & South Korea in the skies of Southeast Asia and off the Korean coasts, the Korean War was at a stalemate. After months of negotiations, the hostile armies of the North, South, left & right, negotiated an uneasy treaty with the involvement of the United Nations and other peacekeeping forces and officially divided the Korean Peninsula into the countries of North Korea and South Korea.

That war, between two small countries on a peninsula in the Yellow Sea south of Manchuria, never officially ended. The armed forces of North and South are still at war, existing on the words of a treaty written & signed more than 50 years ago. Two nations locked in a state of war that still exists; each with governments, capitals, and armies on both sides.

But a top fighter pilot, experienced in combat and still eager to fly 12 years later, Knick Knickerbocker completed his Navy Test Pilot training and put his skills to work flying carrier-suitability demonstrations of the U. S. Navy’s new TA-4 aircraft. That was the beginning of his career in commercial aviation, working on the development testing and FAA certification of the highly-successful DC9 and DC10 passenger planes that are still carrying passengers well into the 21st Century.

As a result of his military service, Knick Knickerbocker was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the 100 very hazardous missions he flew during the Korean War. He became a charter member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots after he was assigned to Edwards Air Force Base as an experimental test pilot for McDonnell Douglas, flying many test flights and FAA certification flights. In 1978 he was promoted to chief test pilot of all military and commercial test programs and to Director of Flight Operations in 1982, in charge of all test flying, production flights, test flying, and flight training. In 1990, he retired, after 38 years with McDonald Douglas. Most recently Knick and Camille put their home on Sacramento Avenue for sale and moved into the comfort & security of The Lodge at Paulin Creek in northwest Santa Rosa.

In spite of the many years he spent flying military and command aircraft, on thousands of FAA certification flights, as a test pilot for the U. S. Navy and major aircraft builders and designers, Knick emerged from all the years he spent flying experimental aircraft unscathed. His last assignment was testing the MD 80 aircraft in its certification for the FFA.  As a finale to his long and rewarding career, Knick was honored to be given the opportunity to debut the MD 80 at the Paris Air Show and to fly VIP scenic flights with some of the historical legends of American aviation and the U. S. Air Force. If you’re interested in flying, aviation, and in American history, don’t miss the opportunity that offers fellow Rotarians to get to spend some time reminiscing with Knick Knickerbocker—one of our remarkable Rotary legends.



Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Officers

President: Peggy Soberanis, President Elect: Mark Burchill, President Elect Nominee: Jose Guillen, Past President: Bill Rousseau, Secretary: Jack Abercrombie, Treasurer: Cecil G. Humes, Sergeant at Arms: Jack Geary

President Rotary International

Ron D. Burton, member of the Rotary Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Governor, District 5130

Helaine Campbell, Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise

Attendance Secretary

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

Board of Directors

Tim Delaney, Debra Dorfman, Matt Fannin, Jose Guillen, Doug Johnson, Nicole Le, Robert Pierce, Jack Tolin, Cathy Vicini