What’s Happening Week of 3-24-14

This week we had one of our own speak to our club.  Bill Horn, owner of Terra Care & Associates talked about how gardening can be easy, healthy, inexpensive, and best of all, in can be done just about anywhere.  He taught us that we can plant edible gardens that feed us and our neighbors, save water and help the environment instead of having lots of grass that generally requires a lot of water (not in this super drought!) as well as quite a number of chemicals to keep it pretty.

With the reasonably mild winters we have here in Brentwood there are plenty of winter crops you can plant, like lettuces, broccoli and other delights.  We all know how great home grown vegetables taste, why not save yourself some money by replacing some or all of your lawn with a vegetable garden.  Bill’s neighbors know they can harvest whatever they need from his front yard garden which is beautiful all year long.  Don’t you wish you had him for a neighbor?  I’m glad he’s close to me, but I also plan on taking his advice despite my nearly 100 square feet of planting boxes plus my mini orchard.

If you are interested in learning more about edible landscaping, check out this website that Bill recommended.  http://www.rosalindcreasy.com  You can also ask Bill Horn,

Terra Care & Associates.  Happy gardening!Bill Horn

What’s Happening Week of 3-17-14

We had a great speaker at today’s meeting, Brad Howard, a past District Governor and the Rotarian responsible for all Rotary clubs in the western US (in 2015), spoke on “Why Rotary?”  Watch the video for the answer.  (This video is from a previous talk.  Our camera battery went dead just at the most important part of the talk!)

Asking yourself what you get out of Rotary, how it benefits you, your family and your business is a great way to help others understand why choosing to join can be so beneficial.  You definitely get out as much or more than you put in!

What’s Happening Week of 3-10-14

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March is literacy month for Rotarians and in keeping with that theme we had speakers from the Antioch and Brentwood libraries.  In the category of “who knew” I think we were all surprised about the myriad of services our local libraries provide.

There’s the obvious, borrowing of books, magazines and movies, but there is also Second Chance tutoring for adults who are illiterate or have low literacy.  They are paired with a tutor who works with them every week to improve their reading skills which also dramatically improves their lives.

For those of us who are readers, there are still many things we can do at the local library.  For example, they have monthly programs that include Magic with Alex Ramon, Chabot AstroBlas Program, Jer’s Traveling Bees, Jeremy the Juggler, Crafts, Author talks, Stamps and Veterans.

The Brentwood branch has homework help for students.  Local high school students have made themselves available to answer math, English, history and science homework questions.  This program is available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-5:00 PM.  This is a first come, first served basis and is completely free!

Not surprisingly, the book club meets monthly to discuss award-wining books from various genres.   Some of the recent books read and discussed are Ender;s Game, Middlesex, Treasure Island, The Virginian, and The Glass Castle.

And, if you must have something more, they’ve got it.  There is a monthly beading group, a gardening program with the Delta Informal Gardeners, a Writer’s Workshop, Annual CityRead, Affordable Care Act information and enrollment sessions and even help downloading the libraries ebooks to your device.

Who knew the public library was such a busy place with so much to offer?  Well, now you do.  If someone ever asks if public libraries are still relevant in this digital age, you have more than enough information to answer that question with a resounding YES!

What’s Happening Week of 2-24-14

Napa Valley Rotary Members & The Pathway Home, Ltd.

Three members of the Napa Valley Rotary Club, the club that puts on the Rotary Ride for Veteran’s/Cycle for Sight, came today to share stories from veteran’s who have gone to The Pathway Home for treatment.  One member has a son who is a graduate of the program and he shared with us his story and how The Pathway Home, Ltd saved his sons life.

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Here is a video from the most recent graduation.

This drawing was shared with us, it is a pen and ink drawing portraying what a veteran with PTS is feeling “in their head”.  It’s beautiful in it’s stark nature.

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Many of our members will be participating in the Rotary Ride for Veteran’s on April 26.  This is a fundraising ride for The Pathway Home.  We’re challenging ourselves to outdo our past efforts and raise $10,000 this year.  This is a great cause and a lot of fun.  Many of our members have come up with unique ways to get us to our goal.  First up is a garage sale at the home of Olga Vidriales on 3/8/14.  All proceeds will go to the Pathway Home.

Stay tuned for other unique fundraising opportunities.  You can also check out our Facebook page for more immediate updates.

What’s Happening Week of 2-10-14

Asquel Teferi — The Value of Freedom — Love from Ethiopia

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Asquel was a very moving speaker.  She told us a bit about her country of Ethiopia which is the only African nation that was never colonized by a foreign power.  It is also the source of the Blue Nile and the The Ark of the Covenant is reportedly stored in the country.  Ethiopia is a country with a rich biblical history.

Due to the ethnic cleansing Asquel’s family was made homeless and they migrated to the United States where they attended college and became a part of the interesting fabric of American culture.

The most important message that Asquel wanted to get across to everyone is to remember how truly blessed and fortunate we are as American’s (or even foreign nationals living here).  We don’t have ethnic cleansing and bodies in the streets to remind us of a dictators rule.

In keeping with Asquel’s message I wanted to remind everyone on this President’s Day to remember how truly fortunate we are to live in this country.  Even those amongst us who aren’t as fortunate as many of us have it far better than many people across the globe.  As Rotarians we constantly give of our time, treasures and talents to lift others up in times of trouble and that is something we can only do when we remember how truly blessed we are.

Spread the blessings this week and remember, even when it seems like the world is against you, it’s just a temporary set back until something better comes along.  As Rotarians, we’ll be there to help our community and our globe in the best ways we can.

Asquel was truly honored that we purchased 2 cinder blocks in her name for our build a school project in Burkina Faso, Africa.

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Who Wants to Win $500? (You know you do!)

Join us for our 5th Annual Poker tournament for your chance to win one of many prizes, first place being $500.  You know you need it and want it!

Rotary Poker Tourny 2014 $500

What’s Happening Week of 2-3-14

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First up, we heard from Dave Roche on his defining Rotary Moment.  That moment when you go from being a Rotary member to being an actual Rotarian.  His moment came when he was able to present his daughter with her Paul Harris medal.  As is tradition for our club, whenever a member has a baby born we pass the hat and contribute to their Paul Harris fund.  Hers was started in 1996.  Dave felt like presenting her with that medal was a way of remembering Rotarians who were no longer with us, thus creating a bit of a legacy.  Donations to the Paul Harris foundation are generally returned three-fold to the club in terms of grants, etc.  Continued giving to this foundation is how Rotary International is able to do all the good works we do locally and world wide.

Supervisor, Mary Piepho on Water Woes

GEN_0269Mary spoke about the problems with the Delta tunnels project that is being put forward by the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The plan is sponsored by State & Federal agencies and a group of California water districts. Two tunnels will take Sacramento River water before it reaches the Delta and pump it beneath the Delta to the export pumps. Delta counties, which will be most impacted by the tunnels are being excluded from the process. “If we aren’t at the table, we’ll be on the menu.”

Some of the problems include disposing of the mountains of toxic muck that will be left from the excavation, which is of toothpaste consistency and made up of soil and conditioning agents (e.g., bentonite, foaming agents, and of polymers/biopolymers). The sludge will cover 1,600 acres, which is approximately the size of two Central Parks, to a height of 25-feet tall.

Another problem is that diverting Sacramento River water will lower the quality of water and threaten local fish populations. Other problems include a lack of any financial plan to pay for all the costs and no consideration of other alternatives.

Supervisor Piepho’s talk was very beneficial in helping us to understand what is going on in Sacramento where “our” water and the delta are concerned.  It gave us information that help us make better decisions and we appreciate her speaking to us in a forthright manner.

A Great Video From Rotary International

Rotary’s Vision for a Better World from Rotary International on Vimeo.

What’s Happening Week of 1-27-14

In honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday last week, we had Mitch Hardin who spoke to our club about diversity.  As a kid Mitch grew up in Berkeley amongst a variety of people.  At 17 his mother moved to East Oakland and he refused to go with her because he was among “his” people and he didn’t want to leave.  It wasn’t easy being on his own at 17, but he’s done very well for himself as a business owner.  One of the most powerful statements he made was “diversity is more than just ethnicity, it’s about surrounding yourself with people from all walks of life…”  This is very true, and it speaks to the diversity we have in our Rotary club.  We have members who have travelled varied paths in their lives, some harder than others, but this allows us to learn a lot from each other and in turn allows us to give even more to our community.

As the Brentwood Rotary club moves forward it is our goal to expand our diversity even further, do more for our community and in turn, get more out of our Rotary experience.  Join us for lunch soon and see for yourself how we are “having fun, working together to make a difference”.  This is our brand new mission statement.

Have a great week!GEN_0281

What’s Happening Week of 1-6-14

A singing flash mob broke out at our first meeting of the year…watch

A Visit From Rotary International Past President Rick King

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Richard King, Rotary International President 2001-2002 spoke at the January 6, 2014 meeting of the Brentwood Rotary Club.  His topic is “Why Rotary?”.  Rick King is also known as the Singing Rotarian.  He serenaded us as part of his presentation.  Also in attendance at this meeting was District 5160 Governor/Guide Steve Lack.

Mr. King tells the emotional story of a fellow Rotarian and how he was touched through his charitable giving.  This Rotarians first grandchild was not expected to live.  During his first visit to the hospital he got the “shock of his life.  There on the corner of the machine keeping his first grandchild alive was the Rotary wheel.”  Underneath the logo as a plaque that stated his Rotary club had donated that machine to the Children’s Wing of the County Hospital.  His mind raced back three years earlier when the club president stood up and said “the county hospital needs a new machine.  It’s not going to be cheap, it’s going to cost a million dollars, but we are Rotarians and I think we can do it.”  So this Rotarian and new grandfather wrote a check.  He said “Rick, I’m a past District Governor I thought I needed to set an example because you know, Rotary is always asking for a little bit of our money.  I also sold beer and hot dogs at the county fair as a club fundraiser, because Rotary is always asking for a little bit of our time.  Then I forgot all about it.  I’ve been in Rotary for over 30 years, how many checks, how many projects?  I forgot all about it until that Sunday afternoon when that machine was keeping my first grandchild alive.”  “How did we get so lucky?  The club is always asking us to give because you can’t give it away.  Sooner or later, one way or another, it comes back.”