Next meeting
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The importance Of Community
Journalism Today

Eric Johnston

Eric Johnston, the CEO and Publisher of Sonoma Media Investments and The Press Democrat, will talk about the importance of community journalism in today’s society, the challenges faced by local media companies and share his vision for how the PD will continue to serve our community for decades to come.

Wednesday September 20: (tbd)
Wednesday September 27: Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Click here for the current calendar (Subject to updates).


Redwood Empire Food Bank – 2nd Wednesday of the month.  The next one is September 13th – 5 PM – 7 PM

4 Club Social September 14th from 5-7pm at The Museum of Sonoma County (425 7th Street, Santa Rosa). The party will continue at the Barrel Proof Lounge immediately following. Because we can’t meet without it being for a good cause, there will be a $20 suggested donation to go to the Museum.

SRJC Rotaract Fundraiser – You can make your donations here: Click here to donate

NOTE: Club Dark & Social – On the 5th Wednesday of a month, the Club is dark. There will be a social on the following Saturday each month, there is a 5th Wednesday.

For more details and additional events, see the Announcements and Such section below.

More socials, projects, & events coming soon!

Rotary Announcements

Membership: The board of directors has approved Jim Green for membership.

See the Announcements section below.

Opening the Meeting

President Ann Gospe got us started while I was trying to decide if I should use a clean big plate for the slice of cake or use my current dirty plate (I decided on the former. Clean plates rule.).  Anyway, while I was fumbling with cake, Heather Thurber kicked us off with the pledge and the 4-way test. Her Thought for the Day tied in to our guest speaker and a special Ukranian guest and was a quote by Maya Angelou: “The ache for home lives in all of us – the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Visiting Rotarians

So this is where my job of bulletin writer gets complicated. People start jumping up with a mic that barely works, mumble out their names and then everyone claps like they heard them clearly. I know you did not hear them clearly! At any rate, John Rehnberg introduced himself as a past President of the Fremont Rotary Club and a current member of the St. Helena Rotary Club. It was not clear why he was visiting us but he introduced a guest, golf pro Steve Donnor, who apparently lives on the Bennett Valley Golf Course.

Another visiting Rotarian was David Mark-Raymond from the Sebastopol Sunrise Club who will make an appearance later in the bulletin. I promise.


Club Member Dan Balf introduced us to his daughter Kathleen. She’s lived in a lot of different countries which either means she’s adventurous or a nomad. It wasn’t clear which one. (Keven Brown later informed us she was in town because she performed with the Santa Rosa Symphony in its Star Wars concert this past weekend, which made me hum the Imperial March to myself for the rest of the meeting)


Ginny Cannon got up and said that everything was sunny, but then President Ann squashed that feel-good moment by announcing that Nona and Cecil had come down with COVID. We will celebrate their return soon, I’m sure.

Rotarian of the Month

President Ann gave awarded the September Rotarian of the Month to Karen Ball for her role as the “underappreciated, overworked Treasurer.” President Ann implored us to “Please be kind to her.” But frankly, if you’re not nice to Karen, you’re just not a nice person. Congrats, Karen! (And I will pay for my lunches this week. I swear.)

Opportunity Drawing

Pete Lescure was leading the opportunity drawing which only made things more complicated. For the third consecutive meeting we had 8 marbles in the bag but the pot keeps growing so I’m not complaining. We had $161 or $162 in the pot, depending on what came out of Pete’s mouth each time he mentioned it. Pete tried to find someone honest to pull a ticket and after scanning at least three different tables, settled on Dan’s daughter Kathleen. That honesty thing came up when Kathleen actually pulled her father’s ticket! But as the Imperial March song played even louder in my head, Dan’s good fortune came to an end as he did not pull the winning marble. Stay tuned for next week when we have 8 marbles in the bag!

Pins for Polio

Once again, Ann tried to snag some Rotarians who were not wearing pins to put some bucks in the buckets. This bulletin writer might have had to throw a few bucks in as well. That’s what I get for running late and forgetting my pin in my car!


David Mark-Raymond (remember him?), got up to tell us about District 5130’s relationship with District 4140 in Central Mexico and let us know about the Festival of Brotherhood (Festival de Hermandad to those of you who don’t speak English) and how he is organizing a group to go down to support a project from October 31st through November 12th. If you are interested, contact David at

Kim Murphy got up and encouraged anyone who knows how to swing a golf club to consider attending the International Golf Tournament in Scotland in June of 2024. Former member Don McMillan is sending snarky emails about how great the Virginia contingent is going to be so if the idea of a long walk spoiled in Scotland is appealing, contact Kim.

Kim also mentioned that the tentative date for the meat auction is October 15th so stay tuned on that.

President Ann then quickly recapped the rager Family Social that occurred at her house last week. Kids were in the pool, Robert was in a robe, and the party lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Who knew that we had it in us?!

Perhaps we can take that party attitude into the upcoming 4 Club Social that Ann also announced. The social will be on September 14th from 5-7pm at The Museum of Sonoma County (425 7th Street, Santa Rosa). The party will continue at the Barrel Proof Lounge immediately following. Because we can’t meet without it being for a good cause, there will be a $20 suggested donation to go to the Museum. Each ticket includes a ticket for a prize drawing that wasn’t announced but I’m hoping it’s a live recording of the Imperial March. I seriously can’t get it out of my head.

Finally, Roseland Collegiate Prep and Roseland University Prep are hosting career days where community members can come talk to the kids (short 5 minute presentations) about their careers so kids can learn about what’s possible for them as they leave high school. (I might go even if I’ve never heard one kid say they want to be a YMCA professional when they grow up) So go talk to the kids about your exciting career. See President Ann if you want more information.


The esteemed Keven Brown once again was on hand to give out gifts he collects from random walks around his store. There were at least five September birthdays but the only one young enough to show up was Laura Stephens so we sang happy birthday to her and she walked away with a gift she’ll treasure forever. Happy Birthday, Laura!

Ukraine Update

Jeff Gospe announced that Rotary Clubs have raised $275K to support relief efforts in Ukraine. They just signed an agreement that will help support traumatized and displaced youth as well as fund batteries for the winter. Good work, Rotarians!

Craft Talk

Heather Thurber had a busy day. Not only did she have to do the opening, they made her tell us all about herself in less than five minutes. We learned that she majored in backpacking at Chico State (or something like that, you’ll have to ask her), that Park Rangers actually carry guns (which is why she’s now a realtor), she grew up in a used bookstore, can lead a mean ropes course, is married and has three boys. She also is starting her own Realty business and wanted us to vote on a name. I chose Redwood Empire but that’s probably because it’s also the name of my favorite bourbon. Stay tuned for the winning name!

Guest Speaker

Susan Nowacki introduced John Namkung who spoke about his experience volunteering in Poland to support Ukranain war refugees where he felt compelled to help. He detailed his efforts to help transport Ukranain refugees from the Poland border town of Medyka to Krakow, Poland. He showed footage of the volunteer-led support tents that greeted refugees as they entered Poland after a six hour wait at the border. He then talked about how he would take families to Krakow. He then shared how he and his wife decided to sponsor one of the families he met and introduced us to Irina who spoke to the group in amazing English for someone who just started learning it less than a year ago. She shared that while she is happy her children have a safe place here in the U.S., unfortunately, many more are not as lucky. She appreciates all of the help and support she has received.

John then shared there are ways to support the refugee families in Sonoma County. You can attend or support an upcoming golf tournament and dinner/auction that takes place on October 13th at Foxtail Golf Club in Rohnert Park. You can purchase tickets at

Program Slides

(Click on image below to view a few of today’s slides)

Click on above image to view a few of today’s slides

Club Job Openings:

Still need a few bulletin writers. Need a person on the board for Vocational Service Recognition

Additional Pictures:

Click on image below to view more fun pictures from the meeting

Click on above image to view additional fun pictures of the meeting



Visit our district at:
Check out Rotary International at:
Come see us at: http://rotarymeansbusiness

Governor, District 5130

Tom Boylan DG - 2023-2024

Tom Boylan DG – 2023-2024


Debi Zaft P.O. Box 505 Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Board of Directors

Ann Gospe – President
Casey D’Angelo – President Elect
(awaiting confirmation) – President Elect Nominee
Kris Anderson – Past President
Debi Zaft – Secretary
Karen Ball – Treasurer
Robert Pierce – Sergeant At Arms
Julia Parranto – Club Service- Membership
Andrea Geary – Club Service – Club Meetings
Matthew Henry – Club Service – Fund Raising
Charlie Howard-Gibbon – Club Services – Local Service
Pete Lescure – Club Service – Records and Outreach
Casey Carter – Member Involvement
Mary Graves Community – Service – Youth
Tim Fawcett – Vocational Service
Scott Bartley – International Service
Paul Hamilton – Foundation Representative

DIGITAL EDITION No. 515, September 6, 2023  EDITOR: Matthew Henry PHOTOGRAPHER: Jeff Gospe PUBLISHER: Richard Lazovick