Club Executives & Directors
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Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 20, 2016
Vino for Veterans Event Sponsored By
Ventura County Association of Realtors
Sarah Kenney, representing the Young Professionals Network of the Ventura County Association of Realtors, spoke to Ventura Rotary South members and guests on Monday, September 19 about an upcoming event designed to benefit the Veterans' Home of California in Ventura. The fifth annual "Vino for Vets" event will take place at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura on Thursday, November 10.
Running from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., the event will feature tastings from local wineries and breweries, as well as delicious food from area restaurants. Tickets are available by pre-order for $40 at vino4vets.com. Tickets at the door will be $50.
In addition to individual tickets, there are several sponsorship levels available, ranging from $550 to $5000. Sarah explained that there is also a need for silent auction gift baskets and sponsorship of transportation for veterans to attend.
Sarah noted that last year's event raised $12,000 for the Veterans' Home. "This year," she said, "our goal is to present them with a check for $30,000! Honoring our veterans is the least we can do to give back for the sacrifices they have made."
Serving veterans is personal for Sarah - she noted that both her grandfathers were officers in the U.S. Air Force.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 12, 2016
Members of Ventura South Learn Strategies
for Beating the Odds at Blackjack and Poker
For those at Ventura Rotary South who thought Lady Luck was their only ally when playing blackjack or poker, our speaker on Monday, September 12 told them to think otherwise. Tom Gallagher of Thomas Casino Systems offered an interesting look at the current state of casino gaming and how it's possible to come away a winner by investing some time in learning the techniques that actually got him banned from playing high-level blackjack at casinos worldwide.
Tom noted that, over the years, casinos have put measures in place to reduce the effectiveness of card counting and other strategies. These measures include multiple decks, constant shuffling, and no "mid-shoe" entry into games in progress. He also reviewed the five best and five worst games/bets in casino gaming.
Tom had some interesting stories to share of his own experiences at the gaming tables, and, fortunately, he left for questions, as there were quite a few from members. Some of the answers, of course, were proprietary to Tom's "systems," which are available through purchase of his eWorkbooks on line.
Thanks, Tom, for an entertaining look at the world of high-stakes gaming!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 29, 2016
Members of Ventura Rotary South
Tour U.S. Coast Guard Station
It was "all hands on deck" for Ventura Rotary South on Monday, August 29, as members paid a visit to the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Channel Islands Harbor. The offsite meeting was a follow-up to our August 9 meeting during which Lieutenant Thomas Wieland, station commander, spoke to members about the Coast Guard's history and current role in protecting our nation's waters.
During the offsite meeting, members heard from representatives of the Coast Guard Auxiliary (comprised of citizen volunteers). Members of the Auxiliary assist the Coast Guard with many of their usual functions, including search and rescue, patrolling, vessel inspection, and disaster relief. Auxiliary Lieutenant Goldman noted that additional volunteers are always needed.
After the lunch address by the Auxiliary, members of Ventura Rotary South were given tours of Coast Guard vessels moored at the station, including an 87-foot patrol boat and several smaller boats, which are often used for intercepting boats suspected of drug-related involvement. Those in attendance also got a look at the Station itself.
By the time our meeting was over, there was no doubt in anyone's mind why the motto of the Coast Guard is "Semper Paratus" (always ready). Our thanks for Lieutenant Wieland and the personnel stationed at Channel Islands Harbor for a fascinating tour. Click here for additional photos from the event.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 23, 2016
Ventura County Ombudsman Program
Advocates for Seniors in Care Facilities
"Sixty percent of the seniors residing in Ventura County's long-term care facilities have no family or friends to visit them or speak on their behalf." That was the sobering news delivered by Daniel Uhlar, our meeting speaker on Monday, August 22. "They are, however, not without an advocate," said Dan, and he proceeded to tell the members and guests in attendance about the Ventura County Ombudsman, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights and needs of elderly and disabled residents in nursing homes and other care facilities.
In Ventura County there are approximately 230 such facilities that house about 8,000 residents. Dan, who sits on the Board of the Ombudsman, explained that volunteers and staff representatives for the organization make unscheduled, unannounced weekly visits to all nursing homes in Ventura County and monthly visits to all assisted living facilities and board and care homes. "We visit with the residents," said Dan, "listen to their concerns, and help resolve them."
The Ombudsman operates with a lean staff of just five members, reinforced by a group of about 65 state-certified volunteers. Among the primary complaints they hear from facility residents are: not enough staff to handle resident needs, dietary issues, call lights ignored or not answered in a timely manner, personal items being lost or stolen, and language barriers that result in an inability to communicate with staff. Ombudsman representatives attempt to handle all concerns at the facility level, but are authorized to contact the state office for assistance in resolving issues.
Under federal authority from the Older Americans Act of 1965, the Ombudsman provides its services free of charge, relying on state funding, donations, and fundraising activities. There are 35 such programs within the State of California. For more information, visit ombudsmanventura.org.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 15, 2016
Rotary Ventura South President Rosanna Colin
Presents Highlights of Rotary Convention in Korea
Our lunchtime presenter at Monday's meeting, August 15, was none other than our own 2016-17 Club President, Rosanna Colin. She used the opportunity to show photos and describe her experience at the 2016 Rotary International Convention, which was held this year in Seoul, South Korea.
Rosanna began her presentation by thanking the Club for the opportunity to attend the event, saying that it was an "amazing and memorable" experience. The sheer number of Rotarians and guests in attendance (over 50,000) was overwhelming, with dozens of inspiring and informative presentations by Rotarians from all over the world, including the outgoing and incoming RI Presidents, K.R. Ravindran and John Germ, respectively.
Rosanna was very impressed with Seoul itself, noting the cleanliness of the City and the friendliness of the people. Among her many culinary adventures was the sampling of kimchi, the traditional Korean dish. Rosanna noted that she was able to enjoy a taste of home when she found a Starbucks.
Thanks, Rosanna, for treating us to a trip to Korea by way of your pictures and words!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 09, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Celebrates
Birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard
Lieutenant Thomas Wieland was our special guest on Monday, August 8, as Rotary Ventura South celebrated the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard. Tracing its origin to August 4, 1790 when Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, the Coast Guard holds the distinction of being the longest continuing seagoing service in the U.S.
Stressing the broad scope of operations and services in which the Coast Guard is involved, Lieutenant Wieland explained, "If there's a need, the Coast Guard fills it." The Coast Guard is involved in missions that range from search and rescue to law enforcement to environmental protection and more.
Lieutenant Wieland entered the Coast Guard Academy in 2003 and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor's Degree in Management. Before assuming his current position as Commanding Officer of U.S. Coast Guard Station Channel Islands Harbor, Lieutenant Wieland served in many capacities, including command officer positions in Boston and deployments to the Middle East and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Lieutenant's current command area extends from Point Dume to Point Conception, and he is responsible for 25 active duty "Coasties" and 25 reservists. Their daily work includes vessel inspection, maritime rescues, ocean pollution investigation, facilitation of sea-going commerce, and a variety of law enforcement activity.
Thank you, Lieutenant Wieland, for your service to our Country and for a fascinating look at the much-needed work of the U.S. Coast Guard!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Aug 01, 2016
Local Winery in the Spotlight
At Ventura Rotary South
From its beaches to its restaurants to its balmy Mediterranean climate, Ventura County is known for many wonderful things. Typically, winemaking isn't one of them. However, the owners of Four Brix Winery are on a mission to change that. From humble beginnings as home winemakers in 2002, Karen and Gary Stewart, together with a few wine-loving friends, built a local winery with a current annual production of 1500-2000 cases, and growing.
Karen, pictured above with a sample bottle of juice just beginning its fermentation, joined us for lunch as our speaker on Monday, August 1. She began by announcing that Four Brix Winery is on the verge of a major expansion, doubling its current footprint to approximately 8,400 square feet at 2290 Eastman Avenue in Ventura. "We needed more space for production and for wine events," said Karen.
Karen also explained how the business got its name. "Brix" is a French term that refers to the quantity of sugar in grape juice. The number four pays tribute to the Stewarts' four favorite wine regions of the world: France, Italy, Spain, and California, all of which are reflected in the wine varieties they produce.
Nearly all of the winery's grapes come from Central California, although Karen noted that the winery also uses fruit from vineyards in Ojai. She explained that the drought has had a major impact on growers, with some suffering as much as a 75-percent cut in production. "However," said Karen, "the grapes that we do get are of extremely high quality."
Karen walked Rotary Ventura South members and guests through the winemaking process, noting that it typically takes about five years to go from grape harvest to a bottle ready for purchase. Four Brix wines may be purchased directly from the winery. More information is available at their website: fourbrixwine.com. Thank you, Karen and ... "Cheers!"
Posted by Sandy Warren
Ventura Rotary South Participates in
Annual Veterans Stand-Down Event
On Saturday, July 30, members, spouses, and friends of Ventura Rotary South gathered at the Ventura National Guard Armory to help prepare and serve dinner to nearly 200 veterans at the Ventura County Stand-Down, an annual three-day event that provides a variety of services and assistance to veterans in need. The Club also contributed money toward the food served, which included barbecued tri-tip, baked potatoes, salad, beans, fruit, and pie.
Ventura Rotary South member Gerardo Sanchez coordinated the Club's participation in the event. Others who attended and helped with the meal included Bob Braitman, Rosanna Colin and her cousin Olga Hernandez, Dante Honorico, Nils Johnson, Diane and Ed Keay, Dennis and Jeannette Longwill, Sal Saldana, Marilyn and Don Scott, and Sandy and Anne Warren. Tim Blackwell from the Rotary Club of Ventura East was also part of the team.
Check out additional photos from the event here.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 25, 2016
Bill Hall and Callie Keating Offer a Profile of
Vocational Education at Career Care Institute
Vocational education was the topic of the day at the regular meeting of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, July 25. Joining us from the Career Care Institute were Ventura Campus Director Bill Hall and Dental Assistant Instructor Callie Keating. They provided a very interesting overview of the Institute's mission to train vocational nurses, dental assistants, medical assistants, and x-ray technicians.
"We're here to serve the community," said Bill. "We offer a path to well-paying, stable careers that are much in demand." Callie (pictured above) noted that there are waiting lists for these kinds of classes at many community colleges.
"The program for dental assistants is nine months," said Callie, "Eight in the classroom and one as an intern in a dental office in the community. From there, many of our students are hired full time and go on to become registered dental assistants."
Bill explained that Career Care Institute has two other campuses: the main center in Lancaster and another in Moreno Valley. In addition, the Institute operates a mobile health unit where students and instructors provide free dental and medical care in the community.
Callie is the wife of Rotary Ventura South member Bob Keating, who has a dental practice here in Ventura. Bob noted that all of his dental assistants were students of Callie's.
Many thanks to Bill and Callie for a great overview of the good work being cone by Career Care Institute!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 20, 2016
District Governor Nick Frankle
Inspires Ventura Rotary South
Our honored guest at our meeting on Monday, July 18, was current District 5240 Governor Nick Frankle. Members and guests enjoyed an inspiring presentation filled with stories of Nick's many years in Rotary and the effect they have had, not only on the people he has served, but on him. "You truly become a Rotarian," said Nick, "when, in changing people's lives, the life that changes most is yours."
Nick began his talk with a story of a woman in Honduras who was among the beneficiaries of a Rotary project in her village. Nick related that this woman had prayed every night, but didn't know if God heard her prayers. "Then," she said, "Rotary came into my life." Nick noted that he had visited this village several times, and on each occasion he witnessed greater prosperity and overall well-being among the people. "Again," said Nick, "being part of that service changed my life more than theirs."
Nick had some sound advice for the Rotarians of Ventura South. "Be sure you can answer the question, 'What is Rotary,' but more importantly, be sure you are able to tell people why you are a proud member of the Rotary Club of Ventura South. Does your community know what the community would be like if Rotary weren't here?"
Nick noted that The Rotary Foundation, since its inception in 1928, has given out more than $3 billion in grants for service projects around the world. He challenged every Rotarian in attendance to give something to the Foundation in the current membership year.
"If you can dream it, you can do it," said Nick. "No project is too large, no obstacle too big that it can't be overcome by Rotarians."
Posted by Sandy Warren
Ivor Davis Regales Ventura Rotary South
With Stories of His Time with the Beatles
It was a fascinating afternoon, rather than a "hard day's night," at our regular meeting on Monday, July 11, as members and guests of Ventura Rotary South were treated to stories and reminiscences from Ivor Davis, a veteran British journalist who spent most of his time in 1964 covering the Beatles during their meteoric rise to worldwide stardom. Ivor, pictured above, is the author of "The Beatles and Me," a book he recently wrote that chronicles his experiences with the legendary foursome, attending their concerts, socializing with them in their hotels, and writing about it all for the London Times.
"In some ways," said Ivor, "it feels like a distant memory. These four lads really covered the waterfront - no other musical artist has done what they were able to do, and the whole world still loves them."
Ivor was a correspondent working in Los Angeles in the summer of 1964 when his editor called and told him to get on a plane for San Francisco where "the boys were going to play." Ivor's first response was, "What boys?", but it didn't take him long to find out. Over the course of the coming months, he attended 25 of their concerts and witnessed the hysteria and magic of Beatlemania.
Regarding those concerts, Ivor pointed out that each was identical - the same 10 songs in the same order, night after night. "The average show ran for about 27 and a half minutes," said Ivor, "then it was into the limousines and back to the hotel." Ivor noted that those limousine rides could be downright terrifying with hundreds of teenagers surrounding the cars and pressing on the windows to get a glimpse of their idols.
Ivor made special note of the fact that it was 50 years ago this summer that the Beatles played their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco (unless you count the impromptu rooftop jam session in London on January 30, 1969). Either way, it was a slice of musical history that the world is not likely to witness again. Thank you, Ivor, for sharing it with us firsthand.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Jul 01, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Celebrates a Great Year
At Step-Down Dinner for Dennis Longwill
On Monday evening, June 27, members and guests of the Rotary Club of Ventura South gathered at the Wedgewood Banquet Center in Ventura to celebrate the end of another terrific Club year under the leadership of Dennis Longwill (pictured above with his wife Jeannette). The evening had a casual "beach" theme, in tribute to Dennis' passion for surfing, and aloha shirts, colorful dresses, and leis were in abundance.
The program, led by incoming President Rosanna Colin, included tributes from Dennis' fellow charter Club members, a song written specially for the occasion by Guy Frick, and awards presented by Dennis to members of his leadership team. In his presentation, Dennis noted that the Club had received several awards at the recent District 5240 year-end event, including the District Gold Club Award and a special award for Club Service in the medium club size category.
For a look at some of the festivities, check out the pictures posted in the event Photo Album.
Congratulations, Dennis, on an outstanding year, and thank you, Rosanna, for hosting a terrific event!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 21, 2016
Sheriff's Commander Chris Dunn Explains
Department's Unmanned Aviation System
Addressing Rotary Ventura South members and guests on Monday, June 20, was Ventura County Sheriff's Department Commander Chris Dunn. He provided a fascinating insight into one of the Department's newest tools: the Unmanned Aviation System, a small fleet of remote-controlled quad-rotor aircraft that deputies are using for a variety of public safety functions.
"We don't refer to them as drones," said Commander Dunn. "That tends to make people think of full-size aircraft, operated from thousands of miles away, firing missiles and dropping bombs on military targets." Instead, he explained, the Department's unmanned aircraft look much like the units that the average hobbyist can purchase at Best Buy or similar stores: about five-and-a-half pounds and 18 inches square. However, appearance is pretty much where the similarities end.
The units used by the Sheriff's Department have sophisticated camera systems; three to be exact. One is forward-facing and provides a pilot's eye view to the operator on the ground. Another is a high-definition camera facing downward for surveillance, and the third picks up heat signals, which can be very helpful in search-and-rescue operations in remote territory. Other uses of the aircraft include SWAT support, crime scene processing, and assessment of potentially dangerous situations before deputies are sent into harm's way.
Commander Dunn pointed out that use of the aircraft is subject to Constitutional law, just like any other aspect of law enforcement. "We need a search warrant before we can fly over private property for investigation," he said. Additionally, the unmanned aircraft (and their operators) are governed by stringent regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
At $65,000 each, the units may seem to be on the pricey side at first glance. However, Commander Dunn noted that a standard manned Huey helicopter costs $1,400 to $1,800 per hour to operate, whereas the unmanned aircraft cost virtually nothing beyond staff time. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department was the first law enforcement agency on the west coast to implement an Unmanned Aviation System, and the current program serves as an FAA-approved model for other agencies to emulate.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 16, 2016
Club Member Al Antelman Offers Historical Profile
Of Overseas U.S. Military Cemeteries
The red, white, and blue were in abundant supply at Rotary Ventura South's regular meeting on Monday, June 13. In addition to commemorating Flag Day and the birthday of the U.S. Army (both on June 14), members enjoyed a fascinating presentation by member Al Antelman on American military cemeteries located on foreign soil.
"We've all heard of the cemetery at Normandy, site of the D-Day Invasion," said Al, "but most people aren't aware that it's one among 24 additional cemeteries in 16 foreign countries. These nations include England, France, Belgium, and other locations where U.S. service personnel fought and died."
Administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission, these places of honor serve as the final resting place for nearly 108,000 American servicemen and women killed in World War II and another 31,000 from the First World War.
Al noted that each of the sites is meticulously maintained, and he shared photos of several that he has visited. "At Normandy," said Al, "the monument is frequented by French schoolchildren." He added, "Many of the graves there are regularly decorated with flowers and flags by local families, many of whom have done so for decades."
Thank you, Al, for a poignant and important glimpse at these very special places of American history and honor.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Jun 09, 2016
Club Member Brant Gerckens Emphasizes
The Power of Proper Posture
Want to lower your stress level, reduce aches and pains, and improve your self-confidence? You can do all three by making simple changes to improve your posture. These were the encouraging words of Dr. Brant Gerckens, long-time member of Rotary Ventura South and a local chiropractor in Ventura. Brant was our meeting speaker on Monday, June 6, and he offered members and guests a wealth of simple tips on how to look and feel better by making a conscious effort to improve how they sit, stand, and walk.
"The human body was designed to sit for two to three hours a day," said Brant. "Most of us sit for six to 16 hours a day, so it's important to break up that time with some movement." He demonstrated some simple stretching exercises such as the "power position." (Think Wonder Woman with hands on hips and shoulders back.) Brant also noted the proper alignment of head, shoulders, and back when sitting, standing, or walking. "Head up, shoulders back," he said. "It's also good to take longer, rather than shorter, strides when walking to help stretch out abdominal muscles that tend to contract and actually shorten when we sit."
Brant noted that laptops, tablets, and mobile phones do not typically make for good posture, with people hunched over them. "Again," he said, "that kind of posture leads to shortening of pectoral muscles." Interestingly, Brant explained that the body's hormones are affected by body position, and good posture actually leads to improved body chemistry.
Turns out Mom was right all those years when she told you to "Sit up straight!" Thanks, Dr. Brant, for a most helpful presentation!
Posted by Sandy Warren on May 25, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Members Visit
Turning Point Foundation Veterans Housing
Rotary Ventura South Club members went offsite for their regular meeting on Monday, May 23. We visited Turning Point Foundation's Veterans Transitional Housing Program for lunch, a tour of the facility, and presentations by program leaders and veterans who reside at the facility. In the photo above, Housing Director Manuel Minjares addresses the group on the patio.
Established in 1988, Turning Point Foundation provides a variety of shelter, supported housing, and rehabilitation programs for mentally ill adults throughout Ventura County. Their outreach program showed that veterans were 12 percent of the homeless population, and 30 percent of those were suffering from mental illness. They remodeled a building just off Ventura Avenue and welcomed the program's first 10 veterans in October of last year. Since then, they have found permanent housing for six veterans and permanent employment for five.
Turning Point Foundation Director Jason Meek said, "These veterans have given so much to their country -- we want to do all we can to provide the critical services that many of them are in need of."
For more information about Turning Point Foundation, including ways that you can be of help, visit their website at turningpointfoundation.org.
Posted by Sandy Warren on May 12, 2016
Barbara MacDonald Traces the History
and Current Practice of Dental Hygiene
Our presentation on Monday, May 9, was an informative and helpful overview of the history and importance of dental hygiene, given my Barbara MacDonald, a local dental hygienist. She and her dentist-husband Don (a member of our Club) provide dental services in Ventura.
Starting with the history of dental hygiene, Barbara stated that early "treatments" (principally extractions) were performed by barbers. In the early 1900s, Dr. Alfred Fones is credited with starting the dental hygiene profession when he trained his chair-side assistant to clean teeth and perform other preventive measures on children. Barbara noted that 335 U.S. educational institutions offer degrees in dental hygiene at various levels.
"Controlling bacteria growth is the key to dental health," said Barbara. "DNA mapping has shown that oral bacteria can establish itself in other parts of the body, which forms a link to various systemic diseases, including some forms of cancer, arteriosclerosis, and heart disease. An increased risk of Alzheimers Disease has also been proven."
Noting that 50 percent of U.S. adults over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, Barbara stressed the importance of proper dental care a home as well as regular professional dental exams and cleaning. "It's more than just a cleaning," Barbara stressed. An hour appointment includes a blood pressure check, oral cancer exam, x-rays, measuring the pockets surrounding the teeth, as well as a thorough cleaning.
"Bacteria always wins," said Barbara. "It regenerates in the mouth every four to five hours." It's safe to say that those of us in attendance no doubt brushed a little longer than usual before bed that evening. Thanks, Barbara, for a most informative and helpful presentation!
Posted by Sandy Warren on May 02, 2016
"Learning for the Love of Learning" at
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
Class was in session at our regular meeting on Monday, May 2, as members of Rotary Ventura South received a fascinating introduction to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at California State University at Channel Islands. "There are no books, no tests, and no grades," said OLLI Operations Director Nick Fuentes (pictured above). "It's learning for the pure love of learning."
To participate, students must meet a single qualification: 50 years old or better. Classes are held in several locations around Ventura County, including the CSUCI campus, as well as satellite locations in Ventura, Thousand Oaks, and Ojai. Instructors are either CSUCI professors or recognized experts in their field of instruction.
OLLI classes are numerous and varied. Recent offerings include such subjects as the psychology of love and loss, Cuba, Alfred Hitchcock's cinematic work, and deep space astronomy, to name but a few. "We also have Peer Led Activities," said Nick. These have included field trips to museums, science centers, and archaeology sites.
Joining Nick for the presentation were Courtney Gross, OLLI Program Analyst, and Gary Collins, who has participated in OLLI classes for the past 10 years. "We offer three sessions," said Courtney, "fall, winter, and spring." Fees range from $40 for a typical class to $500 for a year of unlimited courses. Gary noted that, in addition to learning, "students make new friends - it opens up a whole new world for them."
Our thanks to Nick, Courtney, and Gary for a truly interesting presentation. For more information on OLLI, visit their website here.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 18, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Supports
CDA Cares Charity Dental Event
From Friday, April 15, through Sunday, April 17, two pavilions at the Ventura County Fairgrounds were transformed into a massive dental office to accommodate the California Dental Association's "CDA Cares" charity event. From early Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, 1,884 people underwent 11,583 dental procedures, courtesy of 750 health professionals and almost as many community volunteers. All the patients were people who otherwise could not afford or had no access to professional dental care.
Rotary Ventura South helped sponsor the annual event with a financial contribution, and members of the Club and several spouses were on hand to help provide the dental services and offer logistical assistance. Pictured above are Club members Don MacDonald and Dennis Longwill. Together with Bob Keating, they formed the three-dentist team from Rotary Ventura South. Don's wife Barbara brought her dental hygienist skills to the event, and the group was joined by Bob and Mary Braitman, Dante Honorico, Dennis's wife Jeannette, and Marilyn and Don Scott who helped escort patients, serve food and enter patient data.
Dennis noted that the event "was well organized and so satisfying to help so many people in our community." Thanks to all who so generously gave of their time and skills to help make it happen!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 11, 2016
Marathoner Extraordinare Jim Dawson
Shares His Road with Ventura South
More than half a million people completed a marathon somewhere in the U.S. during 2015. The fact that Jim Dawson is part of that group is not particularly noteworthy. What is noteworthy (or better yet extraordinary) is the fact that Jim has completed at least one marathon in each of the 50 States over the course of the past two decades. Jim visited Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 11, to share some of his experiences with 60-plus marathons under his belt.
Jim noted that the difficult distance of a marathon (26.2 miles) requires physical reserves that the body alone can't deliver. That's when it becomes more of a mental challenge. When asked if running marathons gets easier after having run so many, Jim said simply, "No, but the fact that I can tell myself I've done it before helps somewhat when the going gets really tough."
A self-admitted history buff, Jim noted that he has run through some really interesting sites, including Civil War battlefields, a portion of the Lewis & Clark Trail, General Custer's route, Denali National Park (Alaska), Glacier National Park (Montana), Mt. Rushmore, and Crater Lake, among others. "This is a phenomenally diverse country," said Jim, "and I have been blessed to see so much of it up close and personal."
Thank you, Jim, for giving us a fascinating look behind the scenes of your remarkable achievement!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Apr 05, 2016
Past District Governor Wade Nomura
Shares His International "Rotary Family"
"As a member of Rotary, you have family all over the world." This was the message that Past District Governor Wade Nomura brought to Rotary Ventura South at our April 4 meeting. Wade used photos from his international travels on behalf of Rotary to illustrate his point. "I've been on more than 40 trips for Rotary," said Wade, "and without exception, there was always someone to meet me when I got off the plane."
Among his Rotary excursions, Wade shared his participation in a National Immunization Day in India, Rotary International project evaluation in Honduras, meetings with the R.I. President in Thailand, national health support in Guatemala and chartering two new Rotary Clubs in Chile. Closer to home, he has traveled multiple times to R.I. Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, and right here in Southern California he served as a personal aide to Past Rotary International President Gary Huang who rode on the 2015 Rotary Rose Parade Float.
"This is the big picture," said Wade, "and it's all part of the Rotary journey. I encourage all Rotarians to get involved on a global scale in one way or another. Remember - you're all part of the same family!"
Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 29, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Goes Offsite
For a Tour of Mission Produce
For our regular meeting on Monday, March 28, members of Ventura Rotary South gathered at Mission Produce in Oxnard for a tour of the state-of-the-art avocado processing facility. The massive building was designed by our own Nils Johnson, who organized the visit. After enjoying sandwiches, apples, and chips in the employee lunchroom (thanks to the Wedgewood Banquet Center), members set off on a tour of the 20-acre site.
Decked out in orange safety vests and wearing oh-so-fashionable hair nets, the 25 members in attendance were given the full tour, from the receiving area where avocados arriving from groves throughout Central and Southern California begin their journey through the facility with a 40-degree cold shower, to the shipping dock where pallets of the luscious fruit are loaded into semi-trailers.
During peak avocado season (roughly February through September), Mission Produce processes and packs approximately 1,000 pounds of avocados per minute. (That's a lot of guacamole!) The fruit is kept cool throughout the various areas of the plant, which range from 36 to 50 degrees. For that reason, those in attendance were unanimously grateful for the recommendation to bring a jacket.
Thanks to member Nils for coordinating the visit and to our hosts at Mission Produce for a fascinating look behind the scenes at their impressive facility!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 23, 2016
Mardi Gras Event Raises $27,000
For Turning Point Foundation
Our special guests at the March 21 meeting were Jason Meek (Executive Director) and Suki Sir (Marketing and Fund Development Manager) of Turning Point Foundation. They reported that the January 31 Mardi Gras event, organized by Ventura Rotary South, raised over $27,000 for Turning Point. Jason and Suki presented the Club with a plaque showing the names of the major sponsors of the event. The plaque will be displayed at the veterans shelter project. A special off-site club meeting at the center is being planned.
Also at the meeting, special recognition was given to longtime Club member John Zaruka and his wife, Linda, for their outstanding contributions to the Mardi Gras event.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 14, 2016
Susan Scott Sings the Praises
of 2016 Ventura Music Festival
Susan Scott, Executive Director of the Ventura Music Festival, brought her passion for the event to our March 14 Club meeting and gave members and guests a taste of what to expect at this year's event. The Festival, in its 22nd year, will be held July 15-17 and 22-24 at venues throughout Ventura and Oxnard.
"We have another amazing program of musicians," said Susan. To illustrate her point, she showed video clips of several of the artists scheduled to perform, including piano duo Anderson & Roe, pianist Vadim Kholodenko, vocalist Ute Lemper, and the legendary performer, composer, and Grammy winner Sergio Mendes.
"This year," said Susan, "we moved the festival from its traditional May schedule into July." She explained that this was to put it in sync with other festivals in Southern California, and also to take advantage of the availability of more venues, including the Oxnard Performing Arts Center and the theater at Ventura College.
For information on artists, scheduled performances, and tickets, visit venturamusicfestival.org.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Mar 07, 2016
Rotary Ventura South Holds Bake Sale
To Benefit St. Bonaventure Interact Club
With a table full of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cup cakes, and other delightful treats, the agenda for our March 7 Club meeting was clear: the annual Bake Sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School. Longtime Club member Larry Matheney took to the podium, accompanied by Interact Club members Andrea Rodriguez and Jayson Lopez, to auction off the delectable desserts to the highest bidders.
And bid they did! Between Club members and guests, we set a new record for money raised with a total of $1,405 in contributions! Many, many thanks to the volunteer bakers at St. Bonaventure who supplied the goodies, and to the generous bidders who continued the Ventura South tradition of supporting St. Bonaventure's great Interact Club!
Rotary recognized on public television's 'American Graduate Day'
Rotary was recognized on 17 September on public television's fifth annual American Graduate Day program for its work with San Diego-based Monarch School, a K-12 school for homeless youth. The Rotary Club of San Diego, California, USA, was applauded for its work mentoring Monarch's students, keeping them on track to graduate, and helping the school to continue thriving during tough economic times. Monarch School CEO Erin Spiewak appeared as one of the show's guests, along with Monarch Alumnus Cynthia Valenzuela, who attested to the positive, life-changing experience Monarch School gave her and...
Nations around the world will observe the International Day of Peace on 21 September, a date designated by the United Nations in 2001 as "a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence." Rotary's commitment to building peace and resolving conflict is rooted in the Rotary Peace Centers program, formed in 2002. Each year, the program prepares up to 100 fellows to work for peace through a two-year master's degree program or a three-month professional certificate program at university partners worldwide. Today, nearly 1,000 peace centers alumni are applying their skills — negotiating peace in conflict...
Charity Navigator upgrades Rotary Foundation’s rating
The Rotary Foundation has received the highest possible score from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S. In the most recent ratings, released on 1 September, The Rotary Foundation earned the maximum 100 points for both financial health and accountability and transparency. The ratings reflect how efficiently Charity Navigator believes the Foundation will use donations, how well it has sustained programs and services, and its level of commitment to good governance and openness. In the previous rating, the Foundation had received 97 points.
eBay Live Auctions that benefit Rotary
Each month, eBay, the world’s largest auction website, selects a set of upcoming Live Auction events and donates a portion of all sales proceeds to Rotary. Only U.S. auction sales are eligible. See the schedule of September auctions.
Rotary district collecting relief funds for Louisiana flood victims
Rotary clubs of District 6200 are collecting relief funds to help thousands of victims after record flooding devastated communities in southern Louisiana, USA, earlier this month. Torrential rains caused rivers, streams, and bayous to swell, damaging or destroying more than 60,000 homes and killing at least 13 people. The U.S. Coast Guard and emergency responders helped rescue more than 30,000 residents from the rising flood waters. As of 25 August, more than 3,000 residents were still in emergency shelters even after the water receded. Donate to District 6200 disaster relief fund.