Club Executives & Directors
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Posted by Sandy Warren on Jan 09, 2017
The Ventura County Community Foundation --
Promoting and Enhancing Philanthropy
Rotary Ventura South kicked off its first regular meeting of the new year with an inspiring and informative presentation by Vanessa Bechtel, President and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation, a Camarillo-based organization whose mission is "to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community...for good...for ever." Established in 1987, the Foundation connects philanthropic resources with community needs through scholarships, grant-making, and collaborative partnerships.
Vanessa noted that "philanthropy is a core American value." With $87 million in net assets, she stated that her organization manages for the highest degree of impact for the donor dollars entrusted to it. "We work to transcend much of the bureaucracy that is traditionally associated with philanthropy.
Much of the Foundation's activity is directed toward providing educational scholarships for students of all ages. Vanessa noted that the current application process is underway now. To apply for a scholarship, or to obtain more information about the Ventura County Community Foundation, visit their website at vccf.org. Thank you, Vanessa, for educating the members and guests of Ventura Rotary South about the Foundation's good work!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 12, 2016
Veteran Farmers of America Connects County Vets
With Job Opportunities in the Agriculture Industry
When Lawrence Parkhill (pictured above) returned from the second of his two Marine Corps deployments to the Middle East, he began thinking about the fact that soldiers coming home from active duty have precious few resources to aid them in 1) determining the employment opportunities available to them and 2) taking advantage of the opportunities that exist. In his work at Mission Produce, Lawrence has broad exposure to the local agricultural industry. In 2013, together with Mary Maranville he founded Veteran Farmers of America with the goal of introducing vets to career opportunities in agriculture.
"We introduce veterans to farming," said Lawrence, "by providing them a paid educational hands-on internship at local forms and agricultural businesses in Ventura County." Lawrence noted that agriculture offers a full range of career paths in a variety of disciplines, including law, finance, sales, operations, and more. "We attempt to match veterans to agricultural employment, either through 80-hour internships or direct positions. He noted that Mission Produce has hired eight veterans in recent months.
For more information, Lawrence recommended that people contact Julie Sardonia, the organization's program coordinator, at (805) 797-5539, or visit the website: vetfarm.org.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Dec 06, 2016
Ventura County's Foster Children
Find a Much-Needed Voice in CASA
At our regular meeting on Monday, December 5, speaker Tom Buenger had some sobering statistics to share with members of Ventura Rotary South about the plight of foster children in Ventura County. Tom is a Board Member of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).
"There are approximately 1,100 foster children in Ventura County," said Tom. "Virtually all of them are victims of a crime of some sort, primarily abuse or neglect, which is why they were removed from their original homes and placed in foster care. That's where CASA comes in."
The CASA organization, explained Tom, consists of a Board of Directors (of which he is a member) and a small paid staff. The lifeblood of the organization are the 170-plus volunteers who serve as advocates for the children. They represent them in court and, as Tom noted, may well be a child's only legal voice. Additionally, the volunteer advocates offer the children a sense of reliability and hope, qualities that are usually missing from their lives otherwise.
CASA volunteers receive training in child advocacy and typically devote 10-15 hours of service monthly. Tom noted that there are more than 700 children on the waiting list to be assigned an advocate, so the need for additional volunteers is critical. Donations are also needed to fund the agency's work. For additional information, visit casaofventuracounty.org or call 805-389-3120.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 28, 2016
Tracy Towner Educates Ventura South Members
On the Role of County D.A.'s Investigators
Members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed a fascinating presentation on Monday, November 28, by Commander Tracy Towner of the Ventura County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation. "Our agency's goal is to streamline the process by which criminal cases are prosecuted by the District Attorney," said Commander Towner.
He noted that the prosecution of major crimes in the County is frequently a multi-agency effort involving his office and the Ventura County Sheriff, city police departments, and state and federal law enforcement agencies. With more than 30,000 cases per year, Commander Towner stated that the 100-plus deputy district attorneys and the 45 agents in his office maintain a high conviction rate. Crimes range from homicides to burglaries, to sexual assaults and cyber attacks.
"That last category is demanding more and more of the Bureau's time and resources," Commander Towner noted. "If you use email, online banking, wire transfers, or other forms of electronic communication and business transactions, you have an 80 percent chance of falling victim to some form of cyber crime, and it's only going to increase."
Commander Towner continued, "Don't use the same password for all the sites you visit." He also recommended using extra caution when responding to emails from unfamiliar sources. At this time of year, when online holiday shopping is at its height, Commander Towner's remarks were particularly relevant. Thank you for timely and valuable information!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 21, 2016
Ventura Rotary South Member Bob Davis
Talks Interest Rates and Mortgage Lending
"Interest rates are going higher, and that's a good thing." That was Bob Davis' opening statement to Club members and guests on Monday, November 21. Bob, a local mortgage lender with many years of experience in the real estate lending field, provided an historical overview of the volatile, and frequently unpredictable, world of interest rates, as well as a current snapshot of the industry.
Bob spoke about the traditional spread between savings and lending interest rates, noting that historical norms no longer apply. He also noted that the recent general election, which had some surprises of its own, will undoubtedly continue to affect the national (and global) lending market.
Bob commented that few generalizations can ever be reliably made about the future performance of the U.S. economy, especially given the volatile nature of national and global politics. Given the outcome of the November 8 presidential election, however, Bob said "it's probably a real good time to review your financial position and plans, and to meet with your financial advisor."
Thanks, Bob, for a fascinating and entertaining overview of a subject important to virtually everyone.
Posted by Sandy Warren on Nov 14, 2016
Ventura Rotary Clubs to Have Own Site
At Ventura Botanical Gardens
If all goes according to plan, and sufficient funds are raised, the three Rotary Clubs in Ventura (Downtown, East, and South) will make a lasting impact on the Ventura Botanical Gardens, now under development in the hills directly behind City Hall. Rotary Ventura East members Kathy and Bruce McGee (pictured above) were on hand at our meeting on Monday, November 14 to update members on the ambitious plans for a Rotary site in the Gardens and encourage financial participation.
Kathy, a member of the Gardens' Board of Directors, gave a presentation on the specific plans for the Rotary site, which will occupy a central spot in the 107-acre Garden. The 1600-square-foot site will include space for 50 people to sit and enjoy some of the best views of the hillsides and coastline. A donor wall will offer significant public visibility for the Rotary organization.
Kathy noted the $250,000 price tag for construction of the Rotary site and explained various ways in which Rotarians can contribute to that goal. The Gardens are a 501(c)3 corporation.
Bruce is a member of the joint Rotary Club Committee spearheading the fundraising project. "What a legacy this will be for Rotary in the Ventura community and beyond," he said.
To learn more about plans for the Rotary site and the Gardens in general, Rotarians from the three Ventura Clubs are invited to a preview party on Sunday, November 20, from 3:00-4:30 PM at the Gardens. (Click here for a map to the site.) Additional general information is also available from the Gardens' website: venturabotanicalgardens.com.
Posted by Sandy Warren
The Rotary Foundation -
Doing Good In The World
On Monday, October 31, members of Ventura Rotary South received an overview of The Rotary Foundation from Club member Sandy Warren. The mission of The Rotary Foundation, he noted, is to enable Rotarians to "advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty."
The Rotary Foundation, Sandy explained, accomplishes these goals by using the expertise and compassion of Rotarians who foster effective and sustainable projects around the world. And, he noted, Rotary's reach is greater than that of the United Nations. "Rotary can go where politicians and religious groups cannot," he said.
Sandy provided details on the Foundation's work in six areas of focus:
- Building Peace
- Fighting Disease
- Providing Clean Water
- Supporting Mothers and Children
- Promoting Education
- Growing Local Economies
As an example, Sandy noted that a contribution of $100 would buy three backpacks filled with school supplies for primary school children in Honduras, 50 malaria diagnostic tests to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria in Mali, and one bio-sand filter and water hygiene training for a family in Peru.
"The easiest and most effective way for Rotarians to support this work," said Sandy, "is through the Foundation's Annual Fund, whose goal is 'Every Rotarian, Every Year'. Rotarians can give online or obtain more information by visiting rotary.org/give."
Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 10, 2016
Helping Young People Find Their Career Passion
Is All in a Day's Work for Jerry Beckerman
Career planning for young people is like using a compass -- one benefits from knowing where one is headed before one begins the adventure. That was the message that Jerry Beckerman brought to Rotary Ventura South at our regular meeting on Monday, October 10. President and Founder of Passion Spark, Jerry and his team conduct intensive, focused workshops for teenagers aimed at determining what they enjoy doing most, then determining the best career path alternatives.
"According to a recent survey by Forbes Magazine," said Jerry, "eighty-one percent of working adults in the United States are dissatisfied with their careers." The Passion Spark workshops are designed to help 13 to 19 year-olds aim for that elusive nineteen percent group in which people are highly satisfied with their work. Over the course of four weekend days, workshop participants progress through a three-tiered program.
In Tier 1, group facilitators work on drawing out feelings and emotions to identify activities about which the young people are passionate. Tier 2 shifts into the objective and scientific arena and the assessments begin to match personalities with career types. The final Tier 3 sends participants into the community to speak with people who work at their dream jobs. The final outcome, says Jerry, is a synopsis of their notes, feelings, and guidance from facilitators to identify how their passion applies to their potential career.
"The Passion Spark Program not only helps with career planning," said Jerry, "but also for college preparation." He noted that the next session begins on November 5, and he encouraged people to visit the Passion Spark website for more information. Thanks, Jerry, for an informative look at the essential work you are doing to help young people find their own passion!
Posted by Sandy Warren on Oct 03, 2016
Wade Nomura Offers Insights Into
Japanese Internment During World War II
Rotary Ventura South was honored to have Former District Governor Wade Nomura as our guest speaker on Monday, October 3. Wade delivered a fascinating presentation on the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Executive Order 9066 in February of 1942 resulted in the evacuation of thousands of Japanese Americans along the west coast of the United States. Wade noted that his parents were part of this relocation, which ultimately resulted in their internment in a camp in Arizona. Other such camps were located in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. "People were forced to leave their homes with what they could carry," said Wade, "and they were given assurance that the property they left behind would be guarded until their return, which, unfortunately, did not happen."
People lived in the relocation camps for four years, during which time they tried their best to lead normal lives, working in the professions they had before they were relocated, setting up schools and other facilities. Food was often in short supply.
Very few photographs of life inside the camps exist, due to the U.S. Government's reluctance to publicize the relocation. Wade told of one of just a few photographers, Toyo Miyatake, who was able to build a camera out of lenses and a shoe box. Wade shared several of the images he created.
Wade also noted that HR Bill 442, enacted in 1988, was designed to provide $20,000 in redress to survivors for what the government called "a grave injustice." Wade encouraged the audience members to visit Manzanar, one of the California relocation camps which is now a National Monument. "It's a sobering part of our history," said Wade, "and one that should not be forgotten."
Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 26, 2016
Dr. Brant Gerckens Explores the Connection
Between Body Movement and Brain Function
Rotary Ventura South's own Dr. Brant Gerckens took to the podium at our regular meeting on Monday, September 26, to provide some fascinating information about the mind-body connection as it relates to body movement and brain function. Brant, a local Ventura chiropractor, offered up examples of simple movement techniques that can actually enhance one's brain power.
"What we've discovered about the brain in the last 10 years is more than we have learned in the previous 200 years," said Brant. "Part of that knowledge concerns the importance of physical activities that use both sides of the brain." Brant noted that, as opposed to prior popular thinking, the human brain does not stop developing solely on account of age. Rather, it can, if properly stimulated, continue to grow in its abilities. Activities like exercise, working crossword puzzles, and listening to classical music all provide the necessary stimulation for brain development.
Brant led members and guests through a brief series of simple movements and low-impact exercises, each of which involved cross-body techniques that, in turn, stimulate both sides of the brain. For additional information, Brant suggested those interested perform an Internet search for "brain gym". Thanks, Brant, for timely tips to help us feel better and think more effectively!
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!
New Grant Center makes applying for grants easier
We are pleased to announce the debut of the new Grant Center, formerly known as the grant application tool. The new site has a fresh look and better organization. The grant application includes clearly defined steps so it’s easier for you to track your progress. Learn more about grants and how to apply.
The Rotary Foundation ranked in list of top charities
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Convention: City of peace
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The Rotary Foundation ranked in list of top charities
CNBC has ranked The Rotary Foundation No. 3 in its annual list of Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016. The list includes some of the largest and highest-rated charities that help women, children, the poor, and the environment throughout the world, according to Charity Navigator, and that maintain high standards of financial health, accountability, and transparency of reporting. The Foundation was noted for connecting 1.2 million members from more than 200 geographic areas to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, including projects that focus on disease prevention,...