Jun 17, 2013

Meeting of the Rotary Club of Eureka
June 17, 2013  

This was the 44th  meeting of the Rotary Year 2012-2013.  The meeting was held at the Wharfinger. Since our illustrious President was out of town at the annual worldwide Rotary conference, being held in Portugal, past President Don Leonard led the meeting..  Next week, which will host our debunking of out-going President Nancy Dean, is our last week at the Wharfinger.  The week after that we’ll be meeting at the Elks Club “temporarily” until further notice.

Flag Salute was led by the longest standing Rotary members present, James Howard (1973) and Al Crnich (1955).  We later acknowledged that two other long-standing members were also present:  Dick Nash (1954) and John Winzler (1961). A touching invocation was given by Eric Bergel.

John Cunningham
We had visiting Rotarian John Cunningham from Dublin, Ohio, which is near Columbus, Ohio, at our meeting this week.  We also had two guests of Rotarians.  Dick Storre graced us with his lovely wife Debbie, and Jason Eads introduced us to Scott McAnich, who’s going to law school at Golden Gate University and who’s an intern at Jason’s office this summer.

Larissa Toelke our Exchange student from Germany announced that this was her 10 month anniversary, and reminded us that she just graduated from Eureka High School last weekend.  Larissa also shared that while students were advised to not “decorate” their graduation outfits, she couldn’t resist decorating her cap with her & Franco’s photo.  That was very thoughtful Larissa – well done!

Also present was our Exchange Student from Italy, Bibianna Fabri, who introduced her sister Genevra, and her mother Diana.  Diana is a former Rotarian and Rotary President from Bergamo, Italy.

We acknowledged the birthdays of four Rotarians this week:  George Owren and Richard Whitaker celebrate their birthday on June 19th, Aaron Tilch’s festive day is on June 21st, and Bruce Rupp’s name day is June 22nd.

While we have long list of head table birthday folk who could have and should have been seated (I counted 11 who could have sat up front), only Greg Seiler and Eric Bergel took their place.  Well done lads!!  Also seated at the head table was our guest speaker and Rotarian, Sheriff Mike Downey.

Wedding Anniversary announcements this week include John and Jackie McBeth on June 17th and Kay and Jim Hunter on June 20th (who celebrate their 32nd year of bliss).

We also announced two Membership Anniversaries – Greg Seiler (June 20, 2011) and Dale Stockly (June 22, 2011).

We had a number of announcements this week:  

First, there were two special announcements.  This week marks the 42nd anniversary of Lane Strope joining Rotary, and this week Sue Bosch celebrates her 57th year with Humboldt Land Title Company. Both are remarkable achievements worthy of mention.

Second, we were reminded that the Backpacks for Kids fundraiser is still on! The winner will be selected Aug. 30th. Tickets are $10 each or packs of 12 tickets can be had for $100.  The prize is $3500 Vacation Getaway. There’s a second prize too – a Pierson’s Gift Certificate!  Let’s go Rotarians…we need as many of you as possible to step up and get some tickets. Let’s not forget who this is for!

Finally, and most importantly, we held a vote on where our “temporary venue” for lunch meetings will be held. There were three options (Wharfinger, Elks Club & the Ingomar Club), a paper ballot, and an added vote on the question of paying extra for linens should we end up chosing the Elks Club.  The Elks Club was chosen by a large majority, with no linens being paid for. So, starting the week of July 1, when incoming President Donald “Ziggy Ziegenfuss begins his year as President, we will be meeting at the Elks Club “temporarily” until some future vote on the matter is held.

We had two winners for the Spengler “Science Fair” Raffle Tickets – unfortunately I forgot to write those names down. Please forgive me. Mea culpa!

Our speaker, Sheriff Michael Downey, was introduced by previous President Don Leonard.  Sheriff Downey, who is a member of our Rotary chapter, was there to discuss the California AB109 Realignment bill, which essentially mandates that state prisons in California reduce its prison population by 55,000 inmates.  The end result of this bill is that the counties must take on a greater role in housing and processing inmates who are released to county responsibility.  The inmates who are to be sent back to the counties must be non-felony, non-sexual and non-violent prisoners. In addition, the bill stipulates that the county can hold these inmates for up to 3 years.  The state is providing some funding to the counties to cover the extra costs of the realignment.

AB109 poses a number of challenges for the counties.  Aside from the added financial burden the counties must take on, county level facilities are not sufficient enough to take on the extra prison population. This leads to overcrowding problems, which in turn leads to a change in prison population dynamics, plus increased violence.  The challenge of managing this growing prison population suggests that the counties also need enhancements to their prison programs.

Some of the county prison statistics makes all of these points clearer.  County facilities are currently limited to a maximum population of 391 inmates, of which 55 are earmarked for women.  Current daily rates at the county lockup are running between 375 and 385 inmates per day. This is close enough to the maximum capacity to essentially be full. Furthermore, the maximum population count assumes double-bunk units; so, when particular inmates require single housing cells, it creates further constraints to the system.  This can and easily does lead to overcrowding, which means that the county must many times release inmates who previously would have been kept in the system. This is further aggravated by the fact that they average inmate stay is 155 days, which means that there’s precious little room to bring new inmates into the system. To address these problems a new classification protocol for inmates has had to be developed, and lawbreakers who previously would have been brought in for police and court processing before being released are now in some cases simply being given citations.  Needless to say these program changes would normally require new hiring to help handle the extra work loads, but with freezes in hiring, the county currently has 16 unfilled correctional officer openings, and 13 unfilled Deputy Sheriff positions, to name the most obvious positions.

Some other stats also paint a very troubling situation. The current county prison population is made up of 17% sentenced prisoners, and 83% non-sentenced inmates.  Moreover, 92% are in the facility for felonies and 7% are in for non-felonies. Equally troubling is the rapid rise of gang members in the prison; in 2009 there were 104 identified gang members in the country prison, and then up to 197 in 2010, 640 in 2011, 1028 in 2012, and already 446 as of May 31, 2013.  Drugs are also an issue in the prison, with 45 incidents in 2009, 25 in 2010, 31 in 2011, 23 in 2012, and 23 so far this year through May 31, 2013.

While AB109 is something that the county will need to continue dealing with, there are other factors that are impacting the Sheriff’s Department being able to handle them efficiently and cost effectively.  The Occupy Eureka movement soaked up a lot of manpower and resources, ongoing Transient Clean-ups, and a number of manhunts have impacted the department’s ability to deal with AB109.

Presented in Rotary Service by Bruce Smith

Jun 10, 2013

Meeting Of The Rotary Club Of Eureka
June 10, 2013 

This was the 43rd meeting of the Rotary Year 2012-2013.  The meeting was held at the Elks Lodge, which we were testing out as a possible new venue…a vote of which will happen next week at the Wharfinger.
Flag Salute was briskly handled by Gary Todoroff, 1988 Paul Harris Fellow, and the invocation was given by Dan Hienen.

We had no visiting Rotarians this week, but we did have two guests of Rotarians.  Dick Storre graced us with his lovely wife Debbie, and Jason Eads introduced us to Scott McAnich, who’s going to law school at Golden Gate University and who’s an intern at Jason’s office this summer.

As with visiting Rotarians, we had no guest students, but we did see our Exchange Student Larissa Toelke whose graduation at Eureka High School is this weekend.

We acknowledged the birthday of three of our illustrious members:  Eric Bergel and Greg Pierson have birthdays on June 11th, Gregg Foster celebrates on June 13th, and Greg Seiler’s joyous day is June 15th.

As we learned last week, June is a busy month for Wedding Anniversary announcements – Sid and Judy Anderson (June 11th), Gail and John celebrate their 25th (June 11th), Terry and Rob McLaughlin (June 11th), Al and Marjorie Crnich (June 12th), Rhonda and Tim Foster (June 12th), Michele and Jack Rieke (June 14th), Jason and Stacey Eads celebrated at Mt. Shasta (June 15th), and Matt and Heide Messner had their joyous 23rd (June 16th).  Not to be left out, Don Leonard stood, and apologizing that he missed last week, announced that last week was his FIFTY-FIFTH anniversary (June 6th), which brought a standing ovation – that’s AWESOME Don!! We celebrate all these wonderful anniversaries.

We also announced one Membership Anniversary – Aaron Tilch (June 10, 2011).

We had a number of announcements this week: 

 First, there were five $750 scholarships to the following Eureka High Students: Maya Kaup, President, EHS Interact), Carolyn Smullin (Secretary, EHS Interact), Arleah Aguilar, Riann Thayer, and Brook Wahlund. Congratulations all!

Second, the Harvey Harper Memorial Automotive Scholarship was awarded to Kristian Mohorovich.  Well done!

Third, we thanked Carol Rische and her committee for handling the selections and Kathy Cloney-Gardiner for helping advertise and obtaining a large applicant pool. You ladies are AWESOME!! Thank you so much!

Fourth, don’t forget that the meeting next week will be back at the Wharfinger and we will vote on a temporary change in venue.  Kim Bauriedel answered a few remaining questions, and those present seemed prepared to do the vote next week.

Fifth, don’t forget the Backpacks for Kids fundraiser! The winner will be selected Aug. 30th. Tickets are $10 each or packs of 12 tickets can be had for $100.  The prize is $3500 Vacation Getaway. Don’t let this slip through your fingers – buy a ticket, buy a pack of tickets…buy even more! Let’s have a great fundraiser!!  Click here for the fundraiser flyer.

Sixth, we announced that Roster Photographs could be taken at the end of the meeting for anyone who wanted updated photos.

Finally, Bruce Smith gave a heartfelt Craft talk.  He received a number of acknowledgments afterward. Thank you everyone for the kind words.

We had two winners for the Spengler “Science Fair” Raffle Tickets:  $10 went to Jill MacDonald and $10 went to Kim Bauriedel who donated his to Larissa.

President Dean then introduced our speaker, Patrick Cleary, the new Executive Director of Humboldt Area Foundation since October 2012.  Patrick is only the third person to serve in that role in the Foundation’s 40 year history.  Our speaker moved to Humboldt County in 1997 from New York where he was managing director at The Chase Manhattan Bank.  He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University in 1979. Since coming to Humboldt County our speaker served as the general manager of the Northcoast Co-op and KHSU. For many years he was chair of the county’s Headwaters Fund, and he served on the boards of the St. Joseph Hospital Fund, The Humboldt Folklife Society and Dell’Arte International, among others. In 2008, the North Coast Association of Non-Profits named him its “Leader of the Year.” More recently our speaker was the president of Lost Coast Communications.

Our speaker lives in McKinleyville with his wife Cat, their three dogs, three horses, and one cat, and is an avid amateur musician who currently performs with local group The Pilot Rock Ramblers. He plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica and bass.  Please join me in welcoming Patrick Cleary.

A lot of people don’t really know all the philanthropic activities the Humboldt Area Fund (HAF) provides, so Patrick spent most of his time telling us about the various activities they provide. The founding of HAF can be traced back to Vera and Lynn Vietor. Lynn Vietor was a graduate of Stanford University. After graduating he returned to the area to work in his father’s business, Eureka Boiler Works.  When they both passed away in 1972 they left their estate to form a community trust. The first Community Trust was the Cleveland Trust, which was founded in 1914.   HAF was modeled on this trust structure, and it now has a wide range of funds, which include some of the following:  Designated Funds, Donor Advised Funds, Flexible Funds, Field of Interest Funds, Companion Animal Funds, Education Funds, Natural Environment Funds, Senior Opportunity Funds, Scholarship Funds (over 300 such funds!), and Organizational Funds.  At present HAF has over 700 funds totaling in excess of $75 million.

In addition to the wide variety of funds, HAF also operates at the regional level, providing services for the Trinity Trust and for Trinity County, Del Norte County, the Wild Rivers area (Kerry County in Oregon), and for Mendocino County (which finally spun off into their own foundation in the 1990s).   Furthermore, HAF provides services and funding that assisted General Hospital, it provides meeting rooms for community use, has a wonderful HR Center which provides resources that assist other non-profits in the community identify grant sources and write grants, is involved with the Cascadia Center for Leadership, has a Native Cultures Fund (which works with local Native American groups, and their recent use of the Morris Graves Foundation building near the Eureka Inn), is a leading force behind NORCAN (Northern California Association of Non-Profits), is a driver or provider of resources for local initiatives (such as the local Economic Development Plan, the currently updated General Plan, and more), is a leader for the local Planned Giving Center, and has recently been awarded $10 million over the 10 years for the Building Healthy Communities program, to name just some of the more prominent efforts.  In the last year HAF has provided over $4 million in grants, including over $900K in Health related grants, over $600K in Scholarships, over $500K in the Arts, over $750K for Community grants, over $400K in Animal related grants, and over $400K in Youth related grants.  HAF is the most significant foundation locally, and is the 12th largest in the state of California.  HAF has given out over $60 million since 1972.

As a personal comment, the breadth and scope of services and community involvement by HAF is amazing. It’s clearly one of the crown jewels of the Northcoast.  Thank you Patrick for sharing some of what HAF does!!  We look forward to your leadership at HAF in the years to come.

Presented in Rotary Service by Bruce Smith

Jun 3, 2013

Meeting of the Rotary Club of Eureka
June 3, 2012

This was the 42nd meeting of the Rotary Year 2012-2013.  President Nance Dean reminded us that her tenure as President is quickly winding down…but, I’ve got to comment, she’s been doing a wonderful job of keeping us on track. Well done Nancy!

Flag Salute was briskly handled by Paul Brisso, 1987 Paul Harris Fellow, and the invocation was gracefully led by our own Craig Hansen.

We had no visiting Rotarians this week, but we did have two guests of Rotarians.  Carlton Nielsen introduced us to Craig Wruck, VP University Advancement at HAS, and Dick Storre brought his lovely wife Debbie.

As with visiting Rotarians, we had no guest students, but we did see our Exchange Students, Larissa Toelke and Bibiana Fabri.  Last weekend, in preparation of the rapidly approaching departure for home, they celebrated and said goodbyes to all the dear friends they’ve met and shared this exchange season with a sleep over at the Gym at the Eureka High.

We were extremely proud to also learn that our Lost Coast Rotaract won the Rotaract of the Year.  Way to go!! You guys are awesome!!!

As we do each week, we paused and acknowledged the birthday of our brethren. Rob McLaughlin and Wayne Wilson both had birthdays on June 3rd, and Keith Crossley celebrates his on June 9th.  Wayne let slip that this was his 75th birthday, which we all gave a hearty applause to.  Also, sitting at the head table for their birthday month, we had Wayne Wilson (June 3rd), Greg Seiler (June 15th) and Bruce Rupp (June 22nd).

This was a busy week for Wedding Anniversary announcements – Chris & Diana Freeman (June 3rd), Tim & Marilyn Gallagher (June 3rd), Dan & Karen Price (June 5th), Terry Dickinson & Wendy Purnell (June 6th), Don & Barbara Leonard (June 7th), and Jim & Shirley Davis (June 9th , and this was their 57th anniversary, well worth a standing ovation!!).

We should also mention our Membership Anniversaries – Jay Hockaday (June 3, 2002), Jim Hunter (June 5, 2006), and Jill MacDonald (June 9, 2003).

We had four announcements this week.  

First, and most important, Gregg Gardiner reviewed our venue/lunch options, reminding us that we have a committee that has explored various options available to the club, and this has been narrowed down to three options: (1) stay where we are, which will result in our costs increasing by about 50% (which includes our subsidizing over $4600 in uneaten meals), (2) move to the Ingomar club which would require a change in lunch day and  result in costs increasing to the $18,000 to $30,000 per year range, or (3) move to the Elks Lodge, which would eliminate over $10,000 in facility rent per year, reduce meal costs from $17 per person to $14.50 per person, and reduce our commitment to the caterer from 60 minimum meals to only 20.  Our plan is to try out the Elks Lodge for lunch next Monday, June 10th, and then the following Monday, June 17th, to have a vote on the options mentioned above.  This is an extremely important decision, so we hope as many of you as possible can join us the next two week for this significant decision.

Second, the Backpacks for Kids fundraiser was announced. The winner will be selected on August 30th.  Tickets are $10 each, or packs of 12 tickets can be bought for $100.  The grand prize is a $3500 Vacation Getaway! Come on down and get ticket…better yet, come on down and get a pack or two of tickets…this is for an extremely good cause.

Third, Matthew Owens announced a BBQ to help raise money for our Outbound Rotaract group.  It’s being held this Friday, June 7th, at the Bayside Grange at 5:30pm. Tickets are $30.

Fourth, if you want new photographs of yourself in the Roster, please get them to Nancy right away. Also, if there are any final changes of information, please get that to her immediately.

Next, we had three Recognitions we want to re-acknowledge.  Jason Eads and his team (which included Hal Joiner and James Brown) won 1st Place in a Long Beach BBQ eating contest! This included all kinds of BBQ, including pork shoulders, briskets, BBQ chicken and more.  What a way to go Jason!!  

Dale Warmuth announced that the local Boy & Girls Club was recently named the winner of Safeco’s Heroes of Community award.  This is a $5000 award, so it’s a huge help for the local club, and a wonderful acknowledgement of all they bring to the community.  Thank you Dale…very awesome!!  

Finally, Chris Freeman was duly acknowledged for his grand effort to show the visiting GSE team from France the Korbel Mill, and especially having the guests experience the “Owl Feed” in the forest – they actually got to see this happen twice!! Great job Chris!   Nancy duly awarded all of them rain sticks. Thank you Nancy!

We had two winners for the Spengler “Science Fair” Raffle Tickets:  $10 went to Ziggy Ziegenfuss and $10 went to Jim Davis.

Don’t forget, next week we are having our lunch at the Elks Club, where Patrick Cleary will be our guest speaker.  The week following that we’ll be voting on our new lunch venue – bring sharpened pencils and no erasers!!  

Our guest speaker was introduced by President Dean – Kathryn Smith, President of College of the Redwoods.  Kathryn Smith began as the new President/Superintendent of College of the Redwoods on May 14, 2012. Prior to coming to College of the Redwoods, Kathryn served at Mendocino College in Ukiah, California. There she was the Vice President of Academic Affairs for two years and served as the President/Superintendent of the college from 2005 to May 2012. Prior to coming to Mendocino College, our speaker worked for 11 years in various capacities at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.   Our speaker earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at the University of Kansas and a Master of Business Administration at the University of New Mexico.  

Our guest started by sharing a number of interesting statistics about CR. It currently serves over 9000 full-time students and 2500 part-time students.  56% are female and 44% are male. The average age of their students is about 28 years old, and 48% of their students are in the 18-28 age range. 70% of the students come to classes in Eureka, and 25% take classes online.  They currently have 6 locations, with facilities in Eureka, Del Norte, Mendocino (Fort Bragg), Klamath-Trinity, Downtown Eureka and Garberville.  They currently offer 39 different degrees, 31 Certificates of Completion, and 16 Certificates of Recognition.

In the last few years there have been several challenges.

First, the Obama administration has introduced a new funding model that calls for 5 million more college graduates, and based on population California is targeted to increase her graduates by 1 million. Further, this new model calls for a change in educational focus such that avocational classes like PE, Music, Art and other “personal enrichment” classes be reduced and greater focus be made on training for skills needed for jobs now and that basic classes needed for transfer to 4 year colleges. The challenge is that these avocational classes are popular, but with decreased funding, and new funding requiring a reduction in these classes, it’s difficult to satisfy these competing demands.

Second, our guest explained that Bond Measure Q, which local voters approved to generate $40 million in funds to upgrade existing facilities can’t be used as planned because the upgrades won’t address seismic concerns required for K-14 buildings. The end result of this is that the best that can be done with many of the existing buildings is to rent them out to commercial users.  The college can, however, get access to state bonds in the amount of $45 million to design and build new buildings, but this will dramatically extend the timelines originally envisioned.

Third, and most significantly, CR President Kathryn Smith indicated that her biggest challenge has been the threat of the school possibly losing accreditation.  This is serious. There are normally three levels of notification in the process of losing accreditation:  warning, probation and show cause.  Show cause is the most severe notification, and it typically has very strict remedies it requires and a short timeline to achieve them.  Essentially the “show cause” notification challenges the college to show why it should remain accredited.  College of the Redwood received a “show cause” notification in 2011.  The resulting “show cause” review that was started after President Smith was hired came up with 8 recommendations that CR should implement to retain its accreditation. Some of these included a change in student learning objectives, integrations of planning & budgeting, and others were around CR’s Board of Trustees. One result of this is that CR needed to hire an outside non-board member, Tom Henry, who was given oversight and authority to overrule the board.  Another result of those actions is that a subsequent review will happen later this year which President Smith believes will result in the college being removed from “show cause” notice to a lesser or no notice status.

The final challenge is budgeting challenges. Colleges like CR are normally expected to have budget reserves of at least 5%, and many colleges have double digit reserves.  CR reserve at year-end 2012 was 2.6%, which is dangerously low.  To address these issues CR has increase furloughs by 8.7% and is now in the process of eliminating 39 positions so that it can balance its 2013-2014 budget. 

None of these challenges is easy, and all of them combined make for a very sober evaluation. It sounds like a lot of tough decisions have been made, but there are sure to be more in the months and years ahead.  More funding can solve some of these problems, and careful management can solve others.  It will require careful watching and support from all of us.

The presentation went a bit long and there was not much time for questions and answers, but we all appreciate the speaker’s effort and her presentation.

Presented in Rotary Service by Bruce Smith