Volume XI, Issue 33: March 23, 2012

Checking in With Noëmi

Chiara Herold with Noëmi in Hawaii
Exchange Student Noëmi Schönenberger missed a meeting or two, but she had a good if not great excuse – she was in Hawaii!! She visited our 50th State in early March along with many other Exchangers. Noemi said, “We felt like a family after the first few days.” The group hiked up Diamond Head, visited Pearl Harbor, and visited the International Marketplace. Noëmi said that the Marketplace was like a rain forest, and there was a fountain in the center. She told us that it rained most of the days she was there, but we did get to see her photo of her “one and only sunset”. She did get to go surfing and she took some photos with an underwater camera – we’ll get a look at those once they’re developed.

Recapping the Circus Fundraiser

The Co-Chairs for our 1900’s Circus Fundraiser – Dan Johnson and Ceva Courtemanche – confirmed that over the ten years that we have held the Spring event, we have raised over $1 million! Dan said that he wanted to thank all of the members of the Event Committee, and the Sunrise Spirit would like to second that. Here are the Sunrisers who spearheaded the event:
  • Dan Johnson, Event Chairman
  • Shelly van Wyhe, Assistant
  • Ceva Courtemanche, Arcata Sunrise Co-Chair
  • Paddy Cavanaugh, AVFD Co-Chair
  • Craig Newman, Ticketing
  • Julie Vaissade-Elcock, Guest Seating
  • Mark Burtchett, Guest Seating
  • Sean Campbell, Bar
  • Rick Gomes, Bar
  • Steven Carmichael, Food Preparation
  • Curt Watkins, Food Preparation
  • Arly Allen, Table Service
  • Cam Appleton, Raffle
  • Susan Jansson, Silent Auction
  • Dawn Elsbree, Silent Auction
  • Ceva Courtemanche, Live Auction
  • Bob Moore, Live Auction
  • Kevin Pelascini, Live Auction
  • Jessica McKnight, Models
  • Romi Hitchcock-Tinseth, Models
  • Orrin Plocher, Clean Up
  • Janice Newman, Programs/Thank Yous
  • Lori Breyer, Cashier
  • Bryan Reeser, Permits & Insurance
  • Scott Heller, Arcata Sunrise President
  • Dave White, AVFD President
  • John McFarland, Arcata Fire Chief
Special thanks go out to Ceva for her tireless efforts on the event, and to Dan for heading up the Fundraiser since it began!


The Group Study Exchange teams will be arriving soon – one group from France and the other from Turkey – and the District will need assistance with housing and transportation. Please contact President Scott if you can help.
The District Assembly will take place this weekend in Ukiah. The GSE team from France will be honored at a gala on Friday night, and Saturday will be devoted to learning more about the many aspects of the business of Rotary.

We learned that on Saturday, June 9th and Sunday, June 10th, we will be participating in a hands-on project at Orick School. The details will follow, but please save the dates.

Also … save the dates of June 14th – 17th. That will be the “Heart of Rotary 5130 District Conference”. This year, the event will take place in nearby Fortuna. For more information and to register, click here: The Heart of Rotary.

Craft Talking with Garrett Perks

Garrett Perks gave his Craft Talk last Friday. Garrett was born in Southern California, and raised by a single mother, who is a great inspiration to him. When he was born, his mother worked as a medical file clerk, but her drive led her to put herself through law school. She became a partner in her law firm five years ago, and recently became managing partner. When Garrett was about seven, his mother remarried, and two younger brothers followed.

Garrett said that he was a country boy – church on Sundays and a rifle in his hand at other times. He lost one of his eyes at an early age, and the recuperation caused him to miss a couple of years of school. When he returned to the classroom, he found that he was something of an outcast. His anger at his fate led him to quit his church, and his fear that he might lose the sight in his other eye led him to read even more voraciously than he had before. 

The family moved, and Garrett was surprised to find that, in his new environs, he was popular. “I had a girlfriend my first week there,” he said. He graduated high school in 1999, and took a job at a camp east of Fresno, where he worked for three years. 

When he decided to attend college, he came to Humboldt State, fully intending to transfer soon to another school. However, during his sophomore year, Garrett lost the sight in his remaining eye. After operations and medications, he learned that there was a virus attacking his eye that was causing the problem. The problem and its treatment led to Garrett deferring his education for a couple of semesters. When he returned, he decided to stay in Humboldt County.

Garrett said that service is close to his heart. He has helped the homeless and even helped build homes in Honduras some time ago, which led to his first exposure to Rotary. 

Orrin Plocher’s Recognition Time

The tables were turned on Bob Johnson, who is our usual Recognitionmeister. Orrin grilled him about his recent trip to Ireland. Bob said that the town he visited had a castle and an old bridge. It also had lots of pubs, which inspired President Scott’s comment, “Kinda like here?” as he gestured toward the Plaza. The excursion was at heart a business trip – there were about 650 home improvement specialists in the Land of Leprechauns – but they somehow found time to visit the Jameson Distillery and be in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday parade there included “marching bands and kinetic sculptures”.

Brandi Easter’s birthday was Wednesday, March 21st, and she said that she had a celebratory dinner with friends. Brandi also celebrated at her recent “annual gathering of women”. We sang “Happy Birthday” to her – both women and men.

The McKinleyville Middle School Woodworking Program

Our featured guest last week was Rand Hall, a teacher at McKinleyville Middle School. With Rand were Jed and Dave Huff. Jed is one of Rand’s student’s in the Woodworking Program, and Dave assists in the program on a regular basis.

Rand, Jed, and Dave
The woodworking program started in 2009, when the school’s administration and faculty recognized the need for elective classes. When Rand was asked what else he could teach (he was already teaching PE), he suggested woodshop class. He got the go-ahead on the Friday before beginning of the Fall Semester. To date, about 390 students have taken the class, in 12-week sessions.
He asked the community for assistance, and former Sunriser Kevin Jenkins of McKinleyville Ace Hardware stepped up and provided enough tools and materials to get things started. Schmidbauer Lumber was another early supporter. Since then, the program has operated on a 100% donation basis – including our own contributions (we have purchased a shop vacuum and bench vises, and we made a contribution to help purchase the shop’s dust collection system). 
Jed said that he and the other students “have a lot of fun in woodshop”. He plans to go into construction as a adult. He brought in and passed around several items that he had crafted in the class.

One comment on “Volume XI, Issue 33: March 23, 2012

Comments are closed.