July 22, 2016

2016-17 Rotary Theme

This Friday’s Program:
It’s the first Foundation Final Friday of President Susan’s year! Featuring our Fantastic Foundation Auction and more!!

RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone
August 4 – Mr. Henry’s Birthday Party – 2:30 to 5:30 pm at Pierson Park in McKinleyville
August 19
  – Field Trip Meeting at Arcata High School to check out its new Fine Arts Center!
September 11 -“Out of the Darkness” Suicide Awareness Walk – meet at the Arcata Plaza at 9 am

Starting Off

Where is Howard? And more importantly, where has Howard been? Those were the questions posed by President Susan last week. And Past President Howard has been a man on the move the past few weeks. In addition to attending Burning Man, he also took part in a jazz camp! The photo Susan posted was of “a terrifying moment,” according to Howard. “They placed me in a very good combo with way more experienced musicians than myself. We were sight reading be-bop tunes.” The music was fast, he said, “I had to change chords every half-bar in some spots, and it was a do-or-die time!”

We’ve heard a lot about Mr. Henry over the past year. Henry Larson is Sunriser Karen Burgesser’s grandson, and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly before his third birthday last year, and he underwent six months of chemotherapy. Our young hero will join many of us at Pierson Park in McKinleyville on Thursday, August 2nd to celebrate his 4th birthday. Please drop by sometime between 2:30 and 5:30 pm to wish this little fighter a Happy Birthday. No gifts are necessary, but if you’re so inclined, feel free to make a donation to one of these charities in Henry’s honor: Candlelighters, the Children’s Cancer Association, and/or the Nick Wilson Charitable Group. (To learn more about one of these organizations, click on its name.) Hope to see you at Pierson Park!

Wanted: Host Family for a(nother) wonderful Exchange Student! Claire Ajina is heading up our Youth Exchange Committee this year, and she noted that we are in need of a third host family for our Inbound Exchanger this year. Claire said that she just completed her Department of State training, which reminded her of the importance of developing relationships among countries. We will be hosting a student from Taiwan this year, and this is your chance to be part of that process.

Claire also told us that she recently traveled to Myanmar, and she brought back a gift for President Susan. It was a lovely hand-made parasol. Claire said that Myanmar is a developing country, and the people there were kind and hospitable. She said that the parasol is important to their people; there is sun and rain, and parasols protect them from both. They also serve another function, Claire said. “When couples want a little privacy, they go to the park and sit under their larger versions of these. So do you and Emmanuel want to go to Redwood Park?” Claire added that they are sometimes repurposed into light fixtures. (That doesn’t sound like quite as much fun, though.)

Recruiting New Members

Tomas Chavez and Terri Clark spoke with us on behalf of our Membership Committee. President Susan had asked them to clarify the process, and Tomas told us to do “whatever Terri tells us”. That’s good advice, regardless of  the topic, however Tomas had some excellent ideas, as well.

When you have identified a person who would make a great Rotarian, the most important thing to do is to give the Membership Committee that person’s contact information. Committee members will talk with the prospective member to let them know more about Rotary; what they can expect from the Club and what will be expected of them. If everyone is still on board, the name is submitted to the Club President and the Board, and the name is then circulated among the membership for approval. If no objections are raised within seven days, the new member is scheduled to be inducted into our Club.

Sometimes, a great candidate for Rotary is not a good match for our Club. Usually that involves difficulty in attending meetings on Friday mornings. In such cases, we discuss the possibility of him or her joining another of our great local Clubs. We want to make sure that these people have an opportunity to be a part of Rotary International.

Terri noted that she was originally a member of the Southwest Eureka Rotary, where she served as Club President and as District Governor. However, ten years ago, she decided to transfer to our Club, which proved to be a better fit for her. She told us that even experienced Rotarians are required to go through the Red Badge process (attending board meetings, serving on the Sergeant-at-Arms Committee, doing make-ups at other Rotary Clubs). “That’s really good,” she said, “because even though people who are transferring in have a lot of knowledge about Rotary, they don’t necessarily know us.”

Each new member has a Sponsor – the person who brought her or him into the Club, and they are also assigned a Mentor. This person is an experienced Sunriser who guides the new member through the Red Badge process. Mentors also help when a new member has a question about our Club or about Rotary International or the Rotary Foundation. They may not know the answer, but they can find it.

Racing Stock Cars at Redwood Acres

Our Featured Speaker was Bethany Rapp, who races stock cars at Redwood Acres in the Roadrunner class. She is taking classes in pre-physical therapy,  she coaches volleyball, and she works at the Carl Johnson Company.  She also volunteers in a physical therapy clinic. Bethany was joined by her coach (who happens to be her father as well), and they provided interesting insights into the sport of stock car racing.

BethanyRay and Bethany Rapp 1 told us that Redwood Acres Speedway opened in 1947, and the track is a oval about 3/8 of a mile in total distance. Until 1987, it was a dirt track, but it has sported an asphalt surface since then. Generally, there are four or five classes of race cars that compete at the speedway, with different qualifications for each class. This year, the classes include the Roadrunners, which complete the circuit in about 21 seconds, Mini Stocks (about 19.2 seconds), Bombers (18.1 seconds), Legends (18.0 seconds), Thunder Roadsters (17.0 seconds), and Late Models (16.0 seconds). She said that the Late Model cars look more like NASCAR rides, but the cars in her Roadrunners class are 4-cylinders.

Ray said that the Roadrunners are usually Hondas, Toyotas, and other front-wheel drive vehicles. They have stock engines, but the interiors are stripped, and they are equipped with roll cages for safety. The speeds are limited for these cars. If a car runs a lap under a certain threshold, it is sent to the back of the pack, and has to make its way back through the pack. Bethany said that there had been a “cone rule” in place – the lead car had to navigate around cones placed in the corners of the track, to slow that car down. The rule did not find much favor with the drivers, and was abolished.

Bethany started racing last year, following in her father’s footsteps. “I started racing out there in 1981,” Ray told us. “The cars I drove in back then were called Jalopies, and it was a full-contact sport.” He raced in that class for about four years, then he moved up to the next class. He said that when they paved the track, racing became a different experience completely. Ray and his brother both competed, and they would “knock each other around”. Ray said that the staff didn’t intervene because they were brothers. In 1997, Ray moved on to drag racing, but as he said, “That’s another story.”

So racing was “in my blood,” Bethany said. “My dad did it, my uncle did it, and my grandpa did it.” As a child, she would be in the stands with her ear protection on, watching the races. She said there are lots of pictures of her with her father in the Winner’s Circle. In 2014, she had the opportunity to take a car out for single laps, which is just one car running on the track. She became increasingly interested in driving, and she entered the Roadrunner class the following season. One of Ray’s friends told her one day, “Look! I got you a race car!” It was a Mitsubishi Eclipse, and it still had the seats in it. Ray and Bethany stripped it, installed the roll cage, and she raced that car until earlier this year, when she “got into a wreck which was a little bit someone else’s fault and a little bit my fault”. She hit the wall pretty hard, and the car was “mangled”. But Ray (“who is awesome”) found another Eclipse for her, and it’s working out well for her. However, even Bethany found that there were differences between the two cars. Her old car handled well on the curved parts of the track, while her new one is better on the straightaways.

Bethany said that what you need to be a race car driver is money. Ray noted, “If you want to make a small fortune in racing, you have to start with a big one.” In addition to the car, you need a trailer, tools, and safety equipment, and these all cost a lot of money. But there is a real sense of camaraderie at the track. “Everyone is so friendly,” Bethany said. “They help you with your car, even if they’re your competitor.”

Racing takes maturity and patience, Bethany told us. Although a lot of people think that bravery is important for drivers, she disagrees. But did say that the track is not a place for the meek. She told us that one of the drivers in her class is a bit timid at times, and it shows. Bethany says that you just have to go for it when you’re out there. She also said that you have to be very aware of the tendencies and styles of the other drivers.

Bethany is one of the few women drivers at Redwood Acres. Last year she was one of two in her class, and there was another woman in the Thunder Roadsters, and one in the Legends class. This year, there is also a woman in the Bombers class, and two in Legends. “Unfortunately,” Bethany said, “there is a bit of discrimination. Especially last year, I went through some of it.” She said that it was a little disheartening to hear such things in 2016. On the other hand, however, she said that she does get a lot of support from most of the people at the track.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Bethany told us. “It’s a great thing.” If you’re interested, she advises that you go out to Redwood Acres and just talk with the drivers and crew. There are opportunities to ride with someone in the Bombers class, although that’s not something Bethany is overly fond of – she likes to be the one driving! And she plans to move up a class or two soon. We’ll be watching!

Sunrise Moments

In addition to his stint at Jazz Band Camp, Howard Stauffer also attended the Bach Festival in Eugene, Oregon, where their two kids live. “If you love classical music,” Howard said, “that’s an incredible experience.”

Joyce Hinrichs spoke up to applaud Sunriser Brandi Easter for her recent service on the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury. “It’s a huge commitment,” she said, “and they do some great things.” Joyce said that the Grand Jury is an amazing system. “It’s made up of 19 normal folks who decide that they’re willing to …” Here, Joyce was interrupted by Gregg Foster, who noted that this year, it was “18 normal folks, and one who wasn’t normal”. I’m sure he meant that in the best possible way. Joyce said that the group looks at the civil processes of the county government, and decides what they should investigate more deeply. They also look into citizen complaints. Gregg pointed out that the Grand Jury Report is an important document that each of us should take a look at. Here is the link: GRAND JURY REPORT ARCHIVE

Special Daze

Gregg Foster’s birthday was June 13th, and he celebrated while attending a conference in Denver. He and his wife went out “to a very nice dinner at a place called Ophelia’s”. Gregg noted that it was not a milestone birthday.

Carol Vander Meer celebrated her June 24th birthday with her husband on the beach, and that evening, they went to Moonstone Grill for dinner.

As is her wont, Janice Newman celebrated her birthmonth, which crested on her actual birthday – June 27th. She told us that the celebration was actually continuing. (I think she’s working toward a birthyear celebration.) As part of that peak birthmonth experience, she and husband Craig spent some time in Newport, Oregon, visiting some favorite restaurants and having a great time.

Tomas and Heidi Chavez celebrated their anniversary on June 13th. That’s the day before their son’s 5th birthday, so a lot of the time was spent planning his celebration. He couldn’t remember specifically what they did as a couple, but they had just found out a few weeks before that Heidi was pregnant, so they had a lot on their minds.

Bryan Plumley and Kim Floyd will be celebrating their anniversary on July 26th, and Bryan’s plans are top secret – even to himself! But he did seem genuinely grateful for the reminder. They will be taking their son to camp and their daughter to Sacramento, so Bryan and Kim will have a full week to themselves. I’m sure the opportunity to celebrate will present itself!