September 16, 2016

2016-17 Rotary Theme

This Friday’s Program:
On Friday, September 23rd, we will receive an update from Greg Dale about the state of oyster farming on Humboldt Bay. (For background, click here to see the December 12, 2014 edition of the Sunrise Spirit.)

RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone
October 8 – HSU Homecoming Tailgate Party from 3 to 6 pm.
October 9
– Erin Dunn stars in the “Rocky Horror Show” at the Ferndale Repertory Theatre!
October 18-26
– Opportunity to travel to Nigeria to help fight polio and attend the West Africa Project Fair! Check your email for details, or contact Howard Tours in Oakland (800-475-2260).
October 23 – Stetsons, Steaks, and Spurs – a Rotary Foundation Fandango! At The Lodge, 445 Herrick Avenue, Eureka. No-host cocktails at 2 pm, cook-your-own-steak at 3 pm. Check your email for your personal invitation!
November 17A Taste of the Holidays! Our Fall Fundraiser returns to help you kick off another festive season !
March 11, 2017 – The Rotary Club of Arcata Spring Fundraiser! Put it on your calendar now (or as soon as you purchase a 2017 calendar)!
May 12-14, 2017 – The District 5130 Conference at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada

Sunrise Moments

  • Your Editor was unable to attend the meeting, but due to the video recording efforts of Tomas Chavez, he was able to “attend” digitally, and to produce this week’s Sunrise Spirit! Thank you, Tomas!!
  • Due to technical difficulties, Friday’s meeting (and our breakfast) was a little delayed, but the show must go on!
  • The Out of Darkness Walk for suicide awareness and prevention took place on Sunday, Sept 11th, –, and our Club was well-represented, and we donated $1000 to the cause! The fundraising goal for the event was $30k, missed by only $40 (Susan found out Friday morning just before our meeting.) Matt Babich voiced his appreciation for the Sunriser Support.
  • Our Club will be Tailgate party coming up Saturday, October 8th from 3-6 pm. HSU’s Homecoming Game against GNAC rival Central Washington
  • The next evening (October 9th), the Ferndale Repertory Theatre will stage the Rocky Horror Show. Past District Governor Erin Dunn will be the Narrator for this performance! Check your email for a message from Jessica McKnight and receive a $2 discount if you order online!
  • The Arcata High School Interact Club was scheduled to volunteer at two events over the past weekend – a Mud Run/5K Run and also the Coastal Cleanup day. We also heard that the group plans to continue and complete their project to place additional benches at the front of their school, so students will have a nice place to sit at lunchtime.
  • Membership Chair Tomas Chavez noted that “Seventeen new members is a lofty goal.” His Committee is looking to Rotaract members who are close to “aging out”. This is a great pool of potential Rotarians. Some of these Rotaractors are already semi-regulars at our Club meetings. However, don’t forget that we are all responsible for growing the Club and for providing potential Sunrisers an avenue for Service Above Self. Please invite them to a meeting, service project, or fundraiser … or all three!
  • Lisa Hemphill is co-chairing the Taste of the Holidays fundraiser, and she told us that the vendor applications are coming in. The Event Committee will hold its first meeting on Thursday at 5 pm, and all Sunrisers who would like to provide input are encouraged to attend. I believe the meeting will take place at the Plaza Grill, but contact Lisa to be sure.

Vocational Moment

Sunriser Kyle Visser’s company, Shred-Aware, has added a new dimension to its offerings. In cooperation with its sister company, Developed Employment Services, it employs individuals with developmental disabilities. These employees serve in many capacities – Kyle gave a recent example where his employees vacuumed a large warehouse from top to bottom. Everything from dust to cobwebs were sucked away, and the building was thoroughly cleaned. In addition to cleaning services, his crews shred documents, perform yard work, and other labor-intensive tasks.

Special Daze

  • Kyle Visser’s birthday was July 29th, and he had to search his memory banks. “I can’t remember what I did yesterday,” he told us. It came to him, though – he went to the zoo with his wife and kids. He said that he took the day off, but that’s not all. For each birthday in his family this year, he took the day off!
  • Randy and Lisa Mendosa celebrated their anniversary on August 26th in the usual way – “We went to Larrupin’, of course!”
  • Joyce Hinrichs and Steve Watson have been married for 31 years, as of September 14th. Congratulations!
  • Jeff Stebbens told us that he and his wife Rachel Chandler haven’t done big celebrations for their September 6th anniversary, but this year – their 19th anniversary – they decided to do something different. So they traveled to Jacksonville, Oregon, where they took in a concert by Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle. While they were there, they encountered a town-wide yard sale.
  • The day before our meeting was Mark and Cammy Burtchett’s anniversary. They went on a bike ride followed by dinner at Moonstone Grill. Mark said that their ride was 37 miles, in honor of the number of years they have been married.

Boys & Girls Club Summer Camps

Monica Rose is the Area Director for the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods, and she attended Friday’s meeting to tell us about the summer camps that her organization put on this year at Laurel Tree Charter School. Our donation helped them provide a great experience for the kids. The camps did a lot of field trips to a number of businesses and facilities in the area. The tours and guest speakers showed the campers the many opportunities available in our community.

An Arcata Business Success Story: Kokatat

Our Featured Speaker was Meredith Hyland, the Production Manager for Kokatat, who is also a Past President of the Rotary Club of Arcata (Noon). She graduated from Northeastern Illinois University, and moved to Humboldt County. Meredith has been with Kokatat since 1989, and she has served as Production Manager for the past ten years. The company makes water sportswear “for people who work and play on the water”.

“I’d like to tell you a little bit about Kokatat today,” Meredith said. “It’s hard to condense 45 years of business into 20 minutes.” The business was started in 1971 by a group of young HSU Forestry majors – Steve O’Meara, Steve Cole, and Chuck Kennedy. They liked to bicycle, camp, and engage in other outdoor activities, and the gear at that time consisted of wool sweaters and plastic ponchos. They found this to be very uncomfortable, and they set about to improve the state of the art.

Their first product was a bivy sack that was sewn in the back of a garage, and they proved to be very popular. Steve O’Meara was able to sell them up and down the coast, out of the trunk of his car. All this was taking place while the trio were still attending HSU. They set up the new business in the building that housed Adventure’s Edge which was then called Arcata Transit Authority – until the City of Arcata decided that they wanted to use that name.

In 1980, production moved to Samoa Boulevard, in a room containing four sewing machines and about ten employees. In 1984, the business adopted its current name. Kokatat means “into the water” in one of the local Native American languages. The name fit perfectly for a firm that by them specialized in paddling attire.

The business is now located on Ericson Way, in the Aldergrove Business Park. Meredith noted that a lot of entrepreneurial businesses are their neighbors – Fire & Light, Desserts On Us, the Institute for Wildlife Studies, Casa Lindra Salsa, and others. The business has grown a lot over the years, and they are looking to acquire still more space in the area soon, if possible. Meredith told us, “When I started [in 1988], there were 20 of us. Now, there are 140 to 150.”

She told us that one of the unique qualities that Kokatat possesses “is that we not only manufacture, but we do all of the designs and all the sales and all the repairs out of our Arcata facility.” Usually, these functions are spread to various locations, and even separate companies. They are the only watersports apparel manufacturer in the United States. “Over 90 percent of our product is manufactured here in Arcata,” she said. The centralization allows Kotatat to develop amazing technological advances. It also allows the company to prosper and to have fun doing what they do.